A new approach to understanding the impact of circadian disruption on human health
ABSTRACT Light and dark patterns are the major synchronizer of circadian rhythms to the 24-hour solar day. Disruption of circadian rhythms has been associated with a variety of maladies. Ecological studies of human exposures to light are virtually nonexistent, however, making it difficult to determine if, in fact, light-induced circadian disruption directly affects human health.
A newly developed field measurement device recorded circadian light exposures and activity from day-shift and rotating-shift nurses. Circadian disruption defined in terms of behavioral entrainment was quantified for these two groups using phasor analyses of the circular cross-correlations between light exposure and activity. Circadian disruption also was determined for rats subjected to a consistent 12-hour light/12-hour dark pattern (12L:12D) and ones subjected to a "jet-lagged" schedule.
Day-shift nurses and rats exposed to the consistent light-dark pattern exhibited pronounced similarities in their circular cross-correlation functions and 24-hour phasor representations except for an approximate 12-hour phase difference between species. The phase difference reflects the diurnal versus nocturnal behavior of humans versus rodents. Phase differences within species likely reflect chronotype differences among individuals. Rotating-shift nurses and rats subjected to the "jet-lagged" schedule exhibited significant reductions in phasor magnitudes compared to the day-shift nurses and the 12L:12D rats. The reductions in the 24-hour phasor magnitudes indicate a loss of behavioral entrainment compared to the nurses and the rats with regular light-dark exposure patterns.
This paper provides a quantitative foundation for systematically studying the impact of light-induced circadian disruption in humans and in animal models. Ecological light and activity data are needed to develop the essential insights into circadian entrainment/disruption actually experienced by modern people. These data can now be obtained and analyzed to reveal the interrelationship between actual light exposures and markers of circadian rhythm such as rest-activity patterns, core body temperature, and melatonin synthesis. Moreover, it should now be possible to bridge ecological studies of circadian disruption in humans to parametric studies of the relationships between circadian disruption and health outcomes using animal models.
SourceAvailable from: Mark S. Rea[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although circadian disruption is an accepted term, little has been done to develop methods to quantify the degree of disruption or entrainment individual organisms actually exhibit in the field. A variety of behavioral, physiological and hormonal responses vary in amplitude over a 24-h period and the degree to which these circadian rhythms are synchronized to the daily light–dark cycle can be quantified with a technique known as phasor analysis. Several studies have been carried out using phasor analysis in an attempt to measure circadian disruption exhibited by animals and by humans. To perform these studies, species-specific light measurement and light delivery technologies had to be developed based upon a fundamental understanding of circadian phototransduction mechanisms in the different species. When both nocturnal rodents and diurnal humans, experienced different species-specific light–dark shift schedules, they showed, based upon phasor analysis of the light–dark and activity–rest patterns, similar levels of light-dependent circadian disruption. Indeed, both rodents and humans show monotonically increasing and quantitatively similar levels of light-dependent circadian disruption with increasing shift-nights per week. Thus, phasor analysis provides a method for quantifying circadian disruption in the field and in the laboratory as well as a bridge between ecological measurements of circadian entrainment in humans and parametric studies of circadian disruption in animal models, including nocturnal rodents.Chronobiology International 09/2014; 31(10):1-8. DOI:10.3109/07420528.2014.957302 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although the environmental light/dark cycle is the main zeitgeber for the human species, the social cues seem to be important in the synchronization of circadian rhythms. In Brazil, the existence of two school schedules—one with only morning classes (MG) and other with only afternoon classes (AG)—allows the investigation of the effect of school activities on light exposure and sleep/wake patterns in children. Forty-seven children wore wrist actimeters for a week for registration of light and sleep data. MG children presented shorter sleep duration on school days than the children from the AG. The results showed that during school days MG children were exposed to bright light earlier in the morning when compared to AG children. Nevertheless, there were no differences in light exposure after sunset. The results reflect the role of school schedules and artificial light in shaping light exposure, and its association with sleep timing in children.Mind Brain and Education 12/2014; 8(4). DOI:10.1111/mbe.12057 · 1.35 Impact Factor
Conference Paper: Optimal and feedback control for light-based circadian entrainment[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: With the emergence of solid state lighting, light-based circadian rhythm control is becoming increasingly feasible. In this paper, we use a popular empirical model proposed by Richard Kronauer to study the entrainment with the light intensity as the control input. Given a reference circadian oscillation, we formulate the entrainment problem as a tracking problem: adjusting the light intensity to drive the circadian rhythm to the reference trajectory. We compare four cases: periodic light entrainment, active open loop optimal entrainment (using both the Kronauer model and a first-order approximation of only the phase response), active feedback entrainment, and subtractive feedback entrainment. Results from this study provide new insight and guideline to light intensity control for circadian rhythm regulation.2013 IEEE 52nd Annual Conference on Decision and Control (CDC); 12/2013