[G]enes tied to our body clocks play a critical role in everything from our hormone levels and body temperature to our sleep cycles and even our behavior. It’s now thought that between 30 to 50 percent of our genes have activity regulated by circadian rhythms, including those that are part of our immune system.
“There’s a ton of evidence showing that conditions like depression, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s have a connection to your body clock,” says [professor] Rosemary Braun.
“So, what if we could detect a person’s physiological time?”
Braun is part of a research team at Northwestern that has taken a big first step in doing just that. In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists reported on the development of a blood test they say can detect what time it is in a person’s body.
Braun says the test, called TimeSignature, can come within an hour and a half of assessing a person’s biological time. One likely benefit is that it could help doctors gauge with more precision when medication—whether it’s a blood pressure pill or chemotherapy—would be most effective.
[A] body clock blood test could one day become a standard part of an annual checkup.
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