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Disease Area Outcomes research, Public health, Cardiovascular

A Stitch in Time

Circadian rhythm – and its importance to human health – has received a lot of press lately. Not least because of last month’s announcement that the 108th Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to a trio of scientists who discovered the molecular mechanisms controlling it (1). Although it is becoming increasingly clear that we should pay more attention to our biological clocks, the ways in which they influence human health remain somewhat mysterious. Now, researchers at the University of Lille, France, have found that heart surgery performed in the afternoon appears to result in better outcomes than surgery performed in the morning. Notably, the team discounted procedures between 12 and 6am in an attempt to exclude the potential effects of tired staff with reduced efficiency. Previous research has found that the risk of heart attack is higher in the morning, with the heart working better in the afternoon (reviewed in (2)).

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  1. Nobelprize.org, “The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017”, (2017). Available at: bit.ly/2hFP1yo. Accessed October 30, 2017.
  2. CJ Morris et al., “The impact of the circadian timing system on cardiovascular and metabolic function”, Prog Brain Res, 199, 337–358 (2012). PMID: 22877674.
  3. D Montaigne et al., “Daytime variation of perioperative myocardial injury in cardiac surgery and its prevention by Rev-Erbα antagonism: a single-centre propensity-matched cohort study and a randomised study”, Lancet, [ePub ahead of print] (2017).

About the Author

Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as a deputy editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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