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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

2016


ISSN/ISBN: 1878-108X
PMID: 27720226
DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.004
Accession: 057408860

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'.

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