Scientists say that ‘Body clock alters immune system’

February 17th, 2012 - 10:19 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

New York, Feb 17 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Scientists from the Yale University have identified that not getting enough sleep affects the immune system. The researchers reported that the body clock - which controls when we sleep and wake up – has influence on the level of genes which regulates the immune system.

The scientists identified that the gene TLR-9, which is found in mice, had substantial effect on the immune system’s ability to deal with disease infection. The scientists have not tested the theory on humans but expect the gene to behave the same way in humans.

Professor Erol Fikrig who was part of the research team announced that, “People intuitively know that when their sleep patterns are disturbed, they are more likely to get sick… Sleep patterns of patients in intensive care are often disrupted because of the noise and prolonged exposure to artificial light. It will be important to investigate how these factors influence immune system response.”

The scientists say further studies may be required to fully understand the kind of relationship that exists between the body clock and the body’s ability to fight diseases.

The study and the findings were published in the journal Immunity.

A recent study linked not having enough sleep with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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