Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

The trouble with lights

alarm clock

By Sun Ladder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A new study published in Current Biology presents data showing that persistent exposure to artificial lights causes mice to age prematurely. Not only did exposure to bright light alter circadian rhythm, mice living in 24 hour light lost bone density and developed inflammation and weakness in their muscles. Humans are not immune to the effects of disrupted circadian rhythms. In fact, people who work the night shift are reportedly more likely to develop breast cancer, loss of bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

The research team found that turning off the lights helped to restore the circadian rhythm of the mice and their health.

Well I suppose I should heed the advise of this study, turn off the lights and go to bed now. Goodnight!


Lucassen EA, Coomans CP, van Putten M, Guigas B, Aartsma-Rus A, Meijer JH. Environmental 24-hr cycles are essential for health. Current Biology. 26:1-11, 2016.

Categories: Intelligence and Neuroscience

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