Biologically speaking, we all have 24-hour cycles for different activities that we execute. The 24-hour cycles exist in a time with the light and dark parts of the day. Several cycles happen physically, mentally, behaviorally and all of them fall inside the 24-hour cycles. These cycles are known as circadian rhythms. The most popular cycle we often refer to is the sleep and wake cycle that establishes that we sleep at night and stay awake during the day. The circadian rhythms are very complex in their interactions at a cellular and molecular level. Processes inside the cell and the active protein in genes are affected by the cycles.
While the most common cycles are understood simply enough, other cycles happen along with the 24-hour ones. These rhythms usually have to do with drug therapy, blood pressure, some hormones, cognitive performance, and temperature. These cycles though they are inside the 24-hour cycle, are known to follow a 12 hourly cycle. Therefore, there is little that can be determined about their effect on the biology.
Delving Deep into Biorhythms
An unbiased mathematical approach was used to determine the working of the additional 12-hour cycles. Together with engineers who had an understanding in mathematics, scientists have tried to use the knowledge of digital signals. Using the knowledge about electrical signals, they found different frequencies in very noisy data. The tool used to determine this was invented by Antoulas and is called the ‘Matrix Pencil.’
The mathematical methods that Antoulas used in electrical signals were used in the circadian rhythms to collect information every 36 hours. More than 18,000 livers of mice were dissected and observed during the process. The different biological processes of the mice were tested and analyzed including cell stress, cell cycle, cellular respiration, and metabolism. They were able to confirm the existence and the working of the 24-hour cycle. What they found additional was unexpected. 12-hour rhythms existed that worked independently of the 24-hour ones. Looking at different genes, scientists have uncovered that functions such as inflammation, stress response, protein quality, and energy supply follow different cycles. The finding has a massive impact on how genes are responsible for the health of the person and how they are altered.
The significant finding also suggests that when the main 24-hour clock of the body is disturbed, there are serious metabolism related biases that could affect the person. The finding has solidified the theory about people who have disturbed circadian rhythms. Those who work night shifts and those who travel a lot and sleep at different times a day are prone to diabetes and weight gain. The changes in their body’s rhythm affect them on a deeper level and can cause serious disease if not rectified before it is too late. Disturbing the circadian rhythm on a regular basis is considered to be a very bad idea. Research suggests that doing so disturbs not only the main cycle but also the other cycles that depend on the main cycle.