Circadian disruption and human health: A bidirectional relationship

Sabra M. Abbott*, Roneil G. Malkani, Phyllis C. Zee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Circadian rhythm disorders have been classically associated with disorders of abnormal timing of the sleep–wake cycle, however circadian dysfunction can play a role in a wide range of pathology, ranging from the increased risk for cardiometabolic disease and malignancy in shift workers, prompting the need for a new field focused on the larger concept of circadian medicine. The relationship between circadian disruption and human health is bidirectional, with changes in circadian amplitude often preceding the classical symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders. As our understanding of the importance of circadian dysfunction in disease grows, we need to develop better clinical techniques for identifying circadian rhythms and also develop circadian based strategies for disease management. Overall this review highlights the need to bring the concept of time to all aspects of medicine, emphasizing circadian medicine as a prime example of both personalized and precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-583
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • chronotherapy
  • melatonin
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • shift work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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