We are working to understand human metabolism and what happens when this biological system breaks down. The problem is more important than ever, given the increasing burden that diabetes and other metabolic dysfunctions have on human health and society.

Circadian cycles can benefit our health

Professor Satchin Panda studies circadian clocks, the internal programs that mediate our daily biological rhythms and affect our health. In two recent papers, Panda and his team examined how the body sets these clocks, while a third paper reveals what these rhythms can mean for our well-being.

In the first paper, Panda and colleagues reported a novel technique for determining how neurons communicate, which was employed in mice to uncover details about how the brain responds to light signals received by the retina. In the second study, Panda, Salk first author Ludovic Mure and colleagues reported the discovery of three cell types in the eye that detect light and align the brain’s circadian rhythm to ambient light.

In the third paper, Panda, Salk first author Emily Manoogian and colleagues described their clinical study of eating schedules based on circadian rhythms. They found that a 10-hour time-restricted eating intervention, when combined with traditional medications, resulted in a variety of health benefits for participants with metabolic syndrome, including weight loss, reduced abdominal fat, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and more stable blood sugar and insulin levels. This pilot study could lead to a new treatment option for patients who are at risk for developing life-altering and costly medical conditions such as diabetes.

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