A new blood test will be able to determine a person's body clock compared to external time, a breakthrough that may help with personalized medical treatments.
The biological clock is officially referred to as circadian rhythms, a burgeoning field of research that looks to determine the clock's effects on how a person's body works.
New Blood Test To Help You Know Your Body Clock
Scientists from Northwestern University have developed a new blood test that find out a person's body clock, as it has been proven that internal clocks may be very different from external clocks.
The test is named TimeSignature, and it only requires two blood draws on a person to tell the time in a person's body, assessing the biological clock within 1.5 hours.
"This is a much more precise and sophisticated measurement than identifying whether you are a morning lark or a night owl," according to assistant professor of preventive medicine Rosemary Braun, from the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University.
Braun, who is also the lead author of the study on TimeSignature, claimed that the method is the most accurate and easiest to use blood test to determine a person's circadian rhythm. Previous tests required drawing blood samples every hour, over several hours.
The team behind TimeSignature figured out the new blood test by looking at 20,000 genes in the human body. They found out that about 40 genes showed robust signals at certain times, turning on at certain times of the day, not according to the external time but according to the person's body clock.
The Importance Of Your Body Clock
According to Braun, a person's body clock regulates different kinds of biological processes, going beyond just sleepiness and hunger. Circadian rhythms also determine when the immune system is active, when blood pressure is elevated, and when body temperature changes, among many other things.
Disrupted body clocks, on the other hand, have been linked to health issues by various studies. For example, a connection has been found between biological clock disruptions and an increased risk for mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and depression. People who suffered from more body clock disruptions were also found to have reduced feelings of well-being, as well as lower cognitive functioning.
Academic performance is also affected by body clock disruptions, as poor grades have been linked to class schedules that do not match the biological clocks of the students. Night owls were the most vulnerable to the effects, as classes are usually scheduled early in the day.