One of Many Oddities in Aging and Longevity

Scientists proceed in their work by discovering a correlation and then picking apart the underlying mechanisms to find out why the correlation exists. In the field of aging research a great many as yet unexplained correlations exist, any one of which may point the way to important new knowledge. Take this for example: "Biological rhythms that oscillate with periods close to 24 h (circadian cycles) are pervasive features of mammalian physiology, facilitating entrainment to the 24 h cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. In the absence of environmental time cues, circadian rhythms default to their endogenous period called tau, or the free-running period. This sustained circadian rhythmicity in constant conditions has been reported across the animal kingdom, a ubiquity that could imply that innate rhythmicity confers an adaptive advantage. In this study, we found that the deviation of tau from 24 h was inversely related to the lifespan in laboratory mouse strains, and in other rodent and primate species. These findings support the hypothesis that misalignment of endogenous rhythms and 24 h environmental cycles may be associated with a physiological cost that has an effect on longevity."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20392719

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