Confirming what observational studies have long thought, a genetic study has shown that a grizzly bear’s body clock ticks away routinely, even when

Circadian rhythm superpowers of bears may hold key to human health

submited by
Style Pass
2023-11-21 02:30:03

Confirming what observational studies have long thought, a genetic study has shown that a grizzly bear’s body clock ticks away routinely, even when the animal is deep in hibernation. What’s more, proof of their circadian rhythms mirrors our own, except these bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) can hibernate in the dark for four to seven months and emerge with few ill effects aside from having lost up to 30% of their body weight.

Washington State University (WSU) scientists believe the impressive physiology of these “extreme shift workers” may hold clues as to how humans can better cope with circadian rhythm disruptions. More prevalent in shift workers, circadian misalignment has been linked to heart disease, poor immune function, metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, stroke, cancer and early death.

The researchers found that the hibernating bears' energy production fluctuates in a daily pattern, even though they haven’t eaten for months. During their hibernation, their energy peaks were subdued, with the highs occurring later in the day than when the animal is active, but they were still clear indications of the circadian rhythms being maintained rather than put on pause.

Leave a Comment