Chronic Drinking Upsets Circadian Rhythms

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Researchers in Taiwan say they found an association between dysregulation of circadian clock genes and chronic drinking in humans.

Sy-Jye Leu, a researcher with the Taipei Medical University, says circadian rhythmicity is regulated by circadian clock genes, and lower levels of messenger ribonucleic acid — mRNA, a molecule of RNA that helps to manufacture proteins — in circadian clock genes in alcohol-dependent patients links circadian clock gene dysregulation and drinking in humans.

“The body’s daily biological, or circadian, rhythms modulate our physiological functions and related behaviors such as body temperature, hormone secretions, and sleep/wake cycle,” Leu says in a statement. “Circadian rhythms are the outward manifestation of an internal timing system which is driven by several genetic elements, what we call circadian clock genes.”

The appropriate regulation of these genes is necessary for any organism to efficiently “program” physiological and behavioral activities in order to ensure survival, Leu says.

The study is published online ahead of print in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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