|New Approach Sheds Light on Ways Circadian Disruption Affects Human Health|
|A recent LRC study provides a new framework for studying the effects of circadian disruption on breast cancer, obesity, sleep disorders, and other health problems.|
LRC researchers created a small, head-mounted device called the Daysimeter™ to measure an individual’s daily rest and activity patterns, as well as exposure to circadian light. The device was worn for seven days by both day-shift and rotating shift nurses and then returned to the LRC for analysis. Simultaneously, LRC Director Mark Rea, Ph.D., and his colleagues studied the effect of irregular light exposure to the circadian system of 40 rats, in order to determine if the relationship between circadian disruption and health outcomes could be uncovered using rodent models.
“The marked differences within species, together with the marked similarities across species, in addition to the new method of quantifying circadian entrainment or disruption suggests that health-related problems associated with circadian disruption in humans can be parametrically studied using animal models,” said Rea. “This ability to quantitatively define circadian light and dark for humans and for animals will allow a new class of meaningful studies of light as a stimulus for circadian entrainment or disruption to be undertaken, not only in humans, but in nocturnal rodents as well—which, until now, has been impossible.”
Read the press release for more project details or read the published study online in the Journal of Circadian Rhythms.
|About the Lighting Research Center|
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit http://www.lrc.rpi.edu.