11 March 2009

Time-Keeping and Health

Have always rued the invention of time-keeping and wondered what life would have been like without it. In fact, the subject featured in a course I taught a dozen years ago.

Now there's evidence suggesting the possibility that forcing ourselves into time's, or at least big industry's schedule could be making us susceptible to disease.
In 2007, an expert working group at the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, concluded that "shift-work that involves circadian disruption is probably carcinogenic to humans," after reviewing the existing evidence. Equally strong conclusions have been drawn from evidence that links circadian-rhythm problems to psychiatric disorders, metabolic syndrome and a range of other illnesses....

Circadian rhythms are known to affect the most basic of metabolic pathways, including protein synthesis, glycolysis and fatty-acid metabolism. And many patients who have circadian-rhythm disorders caused by shift work also develop gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders such as glucose intolerance, diabetes and high blood pressure

How many CEOs do you know who do shift-work? I ask because this may be yet one more reason, in addition to income alone, why people lower in income relative to the wealthy are more prone to disease.

Suggest reading the whole article. Some interesting observations reported by the scientists.

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