Tick Tock–Is That Your Toenail I’m Hearing?

Ever feel like even your skin is exhausted? Like your feet are seeping tiredness into the floor? Well, there may be somesleep.jpg truth to your sensations. BBC health news today reports on a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) article where researchers discovered that each cell of your body has its own internal clock. That’s right, folks, whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark is something that’s hard-wired into your genes. Each one of your cells is a ticking clock. The article notes that you can even identify people at risk for seasonal affective disorder from just skin cells. One of the potential great benefits of this research is the fact that current sleep studies are very labor intensive (requiring as much as 3 days to complete), and generally very expensive. This researcher could get some of the same results about an individual’s circadian rhythms just from keeping skin cells in a dish for three days, saving everybody a lot of trouble. Now if I could only get my skin cells to head off and do the laundry too. Somehow, however, I’m thinking laundry’s not a trait that’s hard-wired into my genes…

P.S. Does this finally mean that the early-morning folks have to let go of some of their superiority? Or is the human smugness gene co-located with the early-morning I’ve-already-run-two-miles-before-breakfast gene? Weigh in with your comments, while we here at Doc Gurley hide the breakables and take cover.

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