Sim­ple blood test may re­veal your body’s in­ner clock

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Vital Signs -

A TEAM re­searchers at North­west­ern Univer­sity said Monday they have de­signed a blood test that can mea­sure a per­son’s in­ner body clock within 1.5 hours, an ad­vance that may help per­son­alise med­i­cal treat­ments in the fu­ture. The study was pub­lished in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-re­viewed US jour­nal. The “cir­ca­dian rhythm” gov­erns all cells in the body, and is a bur­geon­ing field of re­search. Three US ge­neti­cists won the No­bel Prize for Medicine last year for dis­cov­er­ing the mol­e­cules that drive the process.

This bi­o­log­i­cal clock reg­u­lates “all sorts of bi­o­log­i­cal pro­cesses, when you feel sleepy, when you feel hun­gry, when your im­mune sys­tem is ac­tive, when your blood pres­sure is high, when your body temp changes,” said lead au­thor Rose­mary Braun, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of bio­statis­tics at North­west­ern Univer­sity. When the clock is not reg­u­lated prop­erly, re­search has shown a link to dis­eases like Alzheimer’s, heart prob­lems and di­a­betes.

Other re­search has pointed to the pos­si­bil­ity some medi- cal in­ter­ven­tions like chemo­ther­apy or blood pres­sure drugs might be more ef­fec­tive if taken at a cer­tain time. For the cur­rent study, re­searchers took more than 1,100 blood sam­ples from 73 peo­ple. Sam­ples were taken about every two hours, and gene ac­tiv­ity was tested at each in­ter­val to see how it changed over the course of a day. The re­search al­lowed sci­en­tists to de­ci­pher if a per­son’s body clock was off, for ex­am­ple, by up to two hours. All the data from the 73 peo­ple stud­ied was com­put­er­ized, and it re­vealed a pat­tern.

“What the al­go­rithm told us, is that there were a small set of about 40 mark­ers that could pre­dict the time of day with great ac­cu­racy,” said Braun. Us­ing this al­go­rithm, sci­en­tists only need to take two blood draws to have enough in­for­ma­tion to de­ci­pher per­son’s body clock. More re­search is needed be­fore the test can be made widely avail­able. It opens a “whole range of pos­si­bil­i­ties in terms of in­ves­ti­gat­ing how pre­cisely the cir­ca­dian clock is re­lated to all sorts of health out­comes,” she said. – Re­laxnews

– iStock photo

A team of re­searchers at North­west­ern Univer­sity said they have de­signed a blood test that can mea­sure a per­son’s in­ner body clock within 1.5 hours, an ad­vance that may help per­son­al­ize med­i­cal treat­ments in the fu­ture.

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