Research Links Healthy Biological Clock To Longevity

March 29, 1999

Aging hamsters who received a new biological clock had their lifespan increased by 20 per cent, proving the importance of circadian rhythms to the health and longevity of an organism.

Once the biological clock of a hamster begins to deteriorate, death occurs within three months. However, when University of Toronto psychologist Martin Ralph transplanted a new clock into hamsters whose own clocks had begun to deteriorate, they lived an average of four months longer than hamsters without the transplant -- roughly a 20 per cent increase in their lifespan.

A biological clock is a small piece of brain tissue that generates a rhythm controlling the day/night behaviour of an organism. When this rhythm breaks down, as it does in many aging humans, it leads to numerous health problems including disrupted sleep patterns and poor body temperature control. Ralph says that while it is highly unlikely humans will ever receive new biological clocks, behaviour modification might achieve similar results.

"If the function of the clock can be mimicked by a structured lifestyle, such as more light during the day and darkness at night, then this will work in the same direction as the transplant works in hamsters," he says.

Ralph collaborated with Mark Hurd of the University of Houston. The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging in the United States and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

University of Toronto

Related Aging Articles from Brightsurf:

Surprises in 'active' aging
Aging is a process that affects not only living beings.

Aging-US: 'From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19' by Mikhail V. Blagosklonny
Aging-US recently published ''From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19'' by Blagosklonny et al. which reported that COVID-19 is not deadly early in life, but mortality increases exponentially with age - which is the strongest predictor of mortality.

Understanding the effect of aging on the genome
EPFL scientists have measured the molecular footprint that aging leaves on various mouse and human tissues.

Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.

Aging memories may not be 'worse, 'just 'different'
A study from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences adds nuance to the idea that an aging memory is a poor one and finds a potential correlation between the way people process the boundaries of events and episodic memory.

A new biomarker for the aging brain
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan have identified changes in the aging brain related to blood circulation.

Scientists invented an aging vaccine
A new way to prevent autoimmune diseases associated with aging like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease was described in the article.

The first roadmap for ovarian aging
Infertility likely stems from age-related decline of the ovaries, but the molecular mechanisms that lead to this decline have been unclear.

Researchers discover new cause of cell aging
New research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.

Deep Aging Clocks: The emergence of AI-based biomarkers of aging and longevity
The advent of deep biomarkers of aging, longevity and mortality presents a range of non-obvious applications.

Read More: Aging News and Aging Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to