September 3, 2012
A clock made of flowers was the invention of Carl Linneaus. Humans and flowers both have circadian rhythms, the ebbing and flowing of hormones triggered by the time of day. In Linneaus’ clock, each hour would be represented by a flower that would open or close around a certain hour.
What does this have to do with humans (aside from being potentially pretty and a cool thing to have in your backyard)? Science has figured out that a person’s circadian rhythm can have a huge impact on how well certain drugs work to treat disease. But much like circadian rhythm varies from flower to flower, it also varies from person to person (I for one am a diehard night owl), but there’s no easy way to test this. Recently though, two researchers have come up with a potential way to more easily establish how a person’s biological clock is calibrated. The story is fascinating and well worth reading, if only for the surreal experiment that they put a team of volunteers through, that included the inhumane sounding step of keeping them awake for 39 hours in a reclining chair. What amazing things humans will do in the name of science! ~AR
(via Reading your body clock with a molecular timetable, inspired by flowers | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine)

A clock made of flowers was the invention of Carl Linneaus. Humans and flowers both have circadian rhythms, the ebbing and flowing of hormones triggered by the time of day. In Linneaus’ clock, each hour would be represented by a flower that would open or close around a certain hour.

What does this have to do with humans (aside from being potentially pretty and a cool thing to have in your backyard)? Science has figured out that a person’s circadian rhythm can have a huge impact on how well certain drugs work to treat disease. But much like circadian rhythm varies from flower to flower, it also varies from person to person (I for one am a diehard night owl), but there’s no easy way to test this. Recently though, two researchers have come up with a potential way to more easily establish how a person’s biological clock is calibrated. The story is fascinating and well worth reading, if only for the surreal experiment that they put a team of volunteers through, that included the inhumane sounding step of keeping them awake for 39 hours in a reclining chair. What amazing things humans will do in the name of science! ~AR

(via Reading your body clock with a molecular timetable, inspired by flowers | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine)

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