Scientists Employ Mathematical Models To Explain Dangers Of Circadian Rhythm Interruption

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A group of international researchers is currently delving into the impacts of late-night smartphone usage and the disruptions introduced by daylight saving time on our body’s inherent rhythms. These researchers are now employing mathematical methods to uncover solutions to these inquiries.

Prolonged disruption of the circadian rhythm affects well being

Their primary emphasis lies in the circadian rhythms of the human body, which encompass the 24-hour cycles governing various bodily functions, delineating periods of alertness and repose. At the core of this rhythmic regulation is a cluster of neural cells nestled within the brain, known as the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), often referred to as the “central timekeeper.” This assemblage assumes a pivotal role in harmonizing the internal rhythms of the body. Nevertheless, numerous aspects of the SCN continue to elude comprehensive understanding.

Lead study author and applied mathematics doctoral candidate at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Stéphanie Abo, said that society is currently witnessing a notable surge in the demand for employment during unconventional hours. Abo explains that this phenomenon substantially perturbs human’s exposure to light and affects various aspects of routines, including eating and sleeping patterns.

Prolonged disruptions to the circadian patterns can have detrimental effects on one’s well-being, leading to potential health concerns such as diabetes, cognitive impairment, and a range of other medical conditions.

Researchers used mathematical models in understanding SCN function

Researchers employed mathematical modeling plus differential equations to understand the intricate workings of the SCN, perceiving it as a vast neural network. Their focus was on deciphering the connections between neurons, which enable synchronization and rhythm maintenance. Their results indicate that prolonged disruptions to circadian rhythms can weaken these neuronal communications.

Nonetheless, some unexpected findings emerged. Abo highlights the notion that a minimal disturbance can indeed enhance the synaptic connections among neurons.

Abo emphasized that mathematical models enable precise manipulation of biological systems, a level of precision that is challenging and ethically questionable to attain within a living organism or a laboratory setting. Therefore this capability facilitates cost-effective research and the formulation of robust hypotheses.

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