Current understanding of the circadian clock and the clinical implications for neurological disorders

Fred W. Turek*, Christine Dugovic, Phyllis C. Zee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The changes in behavior that occur on a 24-hour basis to match the 24-hour changes in the physical environment due to the rotation of the earth on its axis are a hallmark of life on the planet Earth. The nervous system of both lower and higher organisms has evolved over millions of years to meet the demands of the dramatic changes in the physical environment that occur in relation to the changes in the light-dark cycle, optimizing the survival and reproductive success of the organism. During the past 50 years, it has been clearly established that the 24-hour nature of life was not simply a response to the 24-hour changes in the physical environment imposed by celestial mechanics, but instead was due to an internal timekeeping system in the brain. Many neurological disorders are associated with abnormal 24-hour rhythms, including the sleep-wake cycle. The recent discovery of the molecular basis of the neural clock in animals offers neurologists new avenues for studying the pathophysiology of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1781-1787
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Neurology
Volume58
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology

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