According to prof. Bert van der Horst, our biological clock is of greater influence on the occurrence, treatment and prevention of disease than we realize.
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Like most organisms, we have developed an internal time keeping system that drives daily rhythms in metabolism, physiology and behavior, and allows us to optimally anticipate to the momentum of the day. The brain contains the central clock of the body, which keeps pace with the day-night cycle by light. But in addition, all cells and organs in the human body have their own internal clocks, synchronized by the central clock. The clock genes and underlying mechanism of these molecular oscillator are known; we recently know that the clock genes determine the rhythm of 10-20% of the genes in our tissues.
“Many people do not realize the importance of our biological clock for our health.” Prof.dr. Bert van der Horst is a professor in chronobiology and health (Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam) who examines the functioning of the body clocks and the impact those clocks have on a person’s health. Shift work, late night study routine, jet lags and (after)parties till sunrise; our circadian clock has to endure quite a bit in our 24/7 society. The sleep pattern plays a significant role in this, but also food consumption is a considerable aspect. Disturbance of the rhythm of the circadian system may cause all kind of short-term and long-term effects, among which the emergence of disease. On the other hand, the biological clock determines how the body responds to disease.
Prof. Bert van der Horst discusses the influence of lifestyle on the functioning of the biological clock and the impact on health and disease. Also, he will explain why taking the circadian system into account is of great importance in treatment and prevention of diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemia.
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