Circadian-Time Sickness: Time-of-Day Cue-Conflicts Directly Affect Health
Van Ee, R.; Van de Cruys, S.; Schlangen, L.J.M.; Vlaskamp, B.ör.N.S.
Trends in Neurosciences 39(11): 738-749
A daily rhythm that is not in synchrony with the environmental light-dark cycle (as in jetlag and shift work) is known to affect mood and health through an as yet unresolved neural mechanism. Here, we combine Bayesian probabilistic 'cue-conflict' theory with known physiology of the biological clock of the brain, entailing the insight that, for a functional pacemaker, it is sufficient to have two interacting units (reflecting environmental and internal time-of-day cues), without the need for an extra homuncular directing unit. Unnatural light-dark cycles cause a time-of-day cue-conflict that is reflected by a desynchronization between the ventral (environmental) and dorsal (internal) pacemaking signals of the pacemaker. We argue that this desynchronization, in-and-of-itself, produces health issues that we designate as 'circadian-time sickness', analogous to 'motion sickness'.