Body clock linked to mood disorders

16 May 2018

Disruption to the body’s internal clock may put people at increased risk of mood disorders, scientists say.
A clock ticks in nearly every cell of the body. And they change how the tissues work in a daily rhythm.

A Lancet Psychiatry study of 91,000 people found a disrupted body clock was linked with depression, bipolar disorder and other problems.

The Glasgow researchers said it was a warning to societies becoming less in tune with these natural rhythms.

Although the study did not look at mobile phone use, Prof Daniel Smith, one of the University of Glasgow researchers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was ‘likely’ that some of the people in the study who had difficulties might be using social media at night.

“For me absolutely my mobile phone goes off before 22:00 at night and that’s it, because obviously we didn’t evolve to be looking at screens when we should be sleeping,” he said.

People in the study wore activity monitors for a week to see how disrupted their clocks were. Those who were highly active at night or inactive  during the day were classed as being disruptive. And they were between 6% and 10% more likely to have been diagnosed with a mood disorder than people who had a more typical – active in the day, inactive at night – pattern.

Prof Smith, a psychiatrist, told the BBC: “These are not huge differences.

“But what is striking is it is pretty robust across lots of interesting outcomes.”

 

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