Document Detail

Light and the human circadian clock.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23604485     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
The circadian clock can only reliably fulfil its function if it is stably entrained. Most clocks use the light-dark cycle as environmental signal (zeitgeber) for this active synchronisation. How we think about clock function and entrainment has been strongly influenced by the early concepts of the field's pioneers, and the astonishing finding that circadian rhythms continue a self-sustained oscillation in constant conditions has become central to our understanding of entrainment.Here, we argue that we have to rethink these initial circadian dogmas to fully understand the circadian programme and how it entrains. Light is also the prominent zeitgeber for the human clock, as has been shown experimentally in the laboratory and in large-scale epidemiological studies in real life, and we hypothesise that social zeitgebers act through light entrainment via behavioural feedback loops (zeitnehmer). We show that human entrainment can be investigated in detail outside of the laboratory, by using the many 'experimental' conditions provided by the real world, such as daylight savings time, the 'forced synchrony' imposed by the introduction of time zones, or the fact that humans increasingly create their own light environment. The conditions of human entrainment have changed drastically over the past 100 years and have led to an increasing discrepancy between biological and social time (social jetlag). The increasing evidence that social jetlag has detrimental consequences for health suggests that shift-work is only an extreme form of circadian misalignment, and that the majority of the population in the industrialised world suffers from a similarly 'forced synchrony'.
Till Roenneberg; Thomas Kantermann; Myriam Juda; Céline Vetter; Karla V Allebrandt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Handbook of experimental pharmacology     Volume:  217     ISSN:  0171-2004     ISO Abbreviation:  Handb Exp Pharmacol     Publication Date:  2013  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-04-22     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7902231     Medline TA:  Handb Exp Pharmacol     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  311-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute for Medical Psychology, Centre for Chronobiology, Medical Faculty, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Goethestrasse 31, 80336, Munich, Germany,
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