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May 16 2018

Body clock connected to mood disorders

by My Inner Space

A clock ticks in virtually every cell of the human body. And they change the way the cells operate in a daily rhythm.

A Lancet Psychiatry analysis of 91,000 people discovered a bloated body clock has been connected with depression, bipolar disorder and other issues.

Even though the research did not look in cell phone usage, Prof Daniel Smith, one of the University of Glasgow researchers, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was "likely" that a few of the people in the study who had problems may be using social networking at night.

"For me my mobile phone goes off until 22:00 at night and that is it, because we did not evolve to be looking at displays once we should be sleeping," he said.

Those who were active at night or dormant during the day were classed as being disrupted.

Prof Smith, a psychologist, told the BBC: "These aren't huge differences.

"But what's striking is it's pretty robust across a lot of interesting outcomes."

The study found higher rates of major depression, bipolar disorder, more isolation, lower happiness, worse response times and more mood instability in individuals with body-clock disruption.

However, the study can't tell whether the disturbance is causing the mental illness or is merely a symptom of it. That will take additional work.

Circadian rhythm

The body clock surely exerts a strong effect throughout the entire body.

Disposition, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism all vary in a daily rhythm.

Even the possibility of a heart attack soars every morning as the body gets the engine running to begin a new day.

Prof Smith said: "The study tells us that the body clock is actually important for mood disorders and should be given higher priority in research and in way we organise societies.

"It would not be too contentious to say we will need to reorganise the way we work and learn to be in tune with our natural rhythms."

The research used data from the UK's Biobank study endeavor. However, lots of the participants were very old.

Dr Aiden Doherty, in the University of Oxford, said: "The study population isn't ideal to analyze the causes of mental health, given that 75 percent of disorders start before age 24 years."

But he included the analysis showed the way for a similar study in "teens and younger adults to help transform our comprehension of the causes and consequences, prevention, and treatment of mental health disorders".

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