Friday, March 24, 2017

Chronobiology: Take Heed of Your Biological Clock

The secret of the inner clock has led to the science of  chronobiology which provides a new approach to self analysis and therapy. 
"Living organisms take heed of their biological clock - except humans, in many cases." avr
Abercio V. Rotor, Ph.D.

Each one of us is governed by a built-in clock within. Everything we do is “timed;” it has a schedule. 

Author (left) and his students in the UST Graduate School

take time out in a field lecture. 

And this living clock controls our actions and behaviors. It is the key to survival; a tool in evolution ingrained in our genes. If that is so, are our biological clocks then synchronized?

Generally, yes. And that is why we all respond to common rules that society has set for us. We respond to the seasons of the year, each characterized by events we celebrate. We have standard working hours, and curfew. Weekends are set aside for rest and leisure. Summer means vacation. We observe three meals a day, coffee breaks, siestas, and the like.

Menstrual cycle, estrus periods, stages in growth and development – all these are controlled by inner rhythms dictated by that biological clock. So patterned are our laws and rules that we know well the best season to plant or to hunt, to plan weddings and inaugurations, to travel, to go to school, to have a date, to meditate, to be merry.
“There is a time for all things.” William Shakespeare
There’s time for everything.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to
break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to
mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to
gather stones together; a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep,
and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep
silence, and time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war,
and a time of peace.
- Ecclesiastes

Chronobiologists classify this inner clock into five categories. However, the life span of a person should be viewed on this perspective* (AVR).

1. Ultradian - Less than a heartbeat

  • Fluctuation of energy
  • Attention span
  • Brain waves
2. Circadian (daily) day
  • Blood pressure level
  • Sleep wake cycle
  • Cell division
3. Circaseptan (weekly ) about a week
  • Rejection of kidney, heart, and pancreas transplants
4. Circatrigintan (monthly) about a month
  • Menstrual Cycle
5. Circannual (annual) about a year
  • Seasonal depression
  • Susceptibility to some diseases
*6. Vitae cyclum (life cycle)
  • Rapid development in Infancy to childhood 
  • Transformation to aadolescence 
  • Youthfulness - peak of vitae cyclum 
  • Physiologic decline into senility
Applied chronobiology. Let's take a look at these examples.  How do these apply to you?
1. Mental block. Memory lapses. Get focused, relax and free yourself of distractions.
2. Spark of genius. Learn from Archimedes (Eureka!), Handel (composer of Alleluia)
3. Surpassing ones record. What's your score? Athletes are keen at establishing new records of their own, such as in track and field, swimming, and shooting.
4. Compatibility. Formula of team work, applies to "love chemistry," too.
5. Topping a board examination. Or failing. Ride on life's high tide and low ebb.
6, Monday blues. Also morning blues, a sad feeling or just "lazy bones."
7. Glowing. Wow! You look specially pretty today. Beware of the opposite image.

8. Exceptional performance. The audience roars, Bravo, Encore. It's your show!
9. Carpe diem. Seize the moment. Opportunity knocks but once. Enjoy the day.
10. Not in the mood. Change to a favorable one. Have some respite. 
11. Accident prone. Be careful, be mindful always. It's Friday, the 13.
12. Postpone major decisions for better judgment.  Let a restful weekend pass.
13.  Hold your horses! Don't get emotional, specially on trivia matters. 
14. Misplaced your reading glass?  It's hanging on your forehead. Car key locked up?  It's in your other pocket.   
15. Incontinence is a sign of old age. But you must see your doctor.
16. What's your name again? Gina, Lolo. This is for you, Carol. Gina, Lolo.  
17. Sprained ankle,  dislocated finger bones, torn kneecap. Too much basketball, and you are not getting younger. Shift to golf, or just walking. 
18. Blurred vision and you're wearing 250 grade eyeglass. Hours of computer games. have worse consequences at old age. 
19. Tantrums are not unusual in childhood, not in adulthood. There's something wrong if this is not the case. 
20 Surprise, surprise. Things are changing fast. Be amazed, thrilled. Rejoice. 
Since ancient time human activities have been guided by a calendar based on a 365-day cycle with fractions adjusted to re-set its original reckoning. The Mayan calendar had 265.247 days, more accurate than the Gregorian calendar. The short lived French Revolution calendar gave way to the universally accepted calendar. A wall calendar today marks the months, weeks, seasons, relative length of day and night, phases of the moon, high tide and low tide. It carries important reminders of names and events, electronic timepiece, indicators of environmental conditions, other messages notwithstanding. All these have tremendous effects on our inner clock, which therefore make the calendar an important daily guide. 

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