How your body clock affects how you age


We all have an internal body clock, or circadian rhythm that dictates whether we are an owl or a lark and governs many of our normal functions such as body temperature, brain activity, hormone production and metabolism. These things are well known and we can study our own rhythms to help us balance our lives better so we don’t study at a time when our body is not at its mental best, or try to sleep when it is naturally ready to go out and party.

Now it also appears to affect how we age, at least according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who have discovered that our inner biological clock actually communicates directly with the processes that govern aging and metabolism.

As we age, our circadian rhythm declines and the researchers believe that this could be a contributing factor to age-related disorders such as type 2 diabetes and is linked to a gene called SIRT1 which at the center of a network that regulates aging, coordinates metabolic reactions throughout the body and manages the body’s response to nutrition. This biochemical mechanism can directly drive the oscillation of the body’s daily clock and is potentially a way to correct metabolic disorders and improve health as people age.

Life can add years to your face

February 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies, Strange But True


This definitely comes into the ‘Oh Really?’ category, as I don’t imagine any of my readers think anything else. However, I am always impressed by people’s willingness to dress up the obvious in scientific ‘facts’ and a new study of identical twins claims that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors can add years to a person’s perceived age. As this study comes from the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), I do feel there is a vested interest at work here, but apparently factors like divorce or the use of antidepressants are the real culprits when it comes to your face looking like the hide of an elderly elephant.

Back to attitude is what I say, because of course being unhappy does add years to your face, and how anyone can doubt that is a bit beyond me, but I guess if your business is facelifts then you can’t afford to understate the obvious. Anyone who can cry without wrinkling up their face is obviously not in need of their services, but they kindly suggest that you avoid anything that can age you faster – that would be life I guess. The author of this study is Bahaman Guyuron, MD, professor and chairman, department of plastic surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center who wants us all to cheat our biological clock by avoiding things like being divorced because if you do you are going to look nearly 2 years older than your happily married twin – or others of your age who are married, single or even widowed.

This also applies if you are taking antidepressants, or are overweight – you will appear significantly older. To quote the good doctor, “the presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older. Researchers suspect that continued relaxation of the facial muscles due to antidepressant use, could account for sagging”.

He’s not a modest man either, as he claims that he has discovered a number of new factors that contribute to aging – which aren’t new to me, or to you – and secondly that his findings put science behind the idea that volume replacement rejuvenates the face. There you have the real reason for the research, as according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics, there were more than 1.5 million filler injection procedures – such as Botox – performed in 2007 and I imagine they are looking to do more smoothing out of our worried brows, lips, cheeks and necks.

So avoid getting divorced, being depressed or eating too much and you will look younger is his message, though presumably if you don’t do those things he can fix it for you in the flash of a scalpel.