Easy prospects for circadian treatment of mood disorders

Interesting review showing many ways how circadian desynchronization can lead to mood disorders and some steps to fix ’em (Huhne et al., 2018)

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Circadian arrhythmia is strongly associated with a variety of mood disorders. It is known.

The authors of this manuscript break it down into 4 potential cause-effect links:

  1. loss of synchronization to environmental 24-hour rhythms
  2. internal desynchronization among body clocks
  3. low rhythm amplitude
  4. changes in sleep architecture


And as suggested in the title, each of these factors have specific remedies.

Disruption of the sleep-wake cycle is a characteristic feature of mood disorders, one of the core symptoms that define them, and many think there’s a causal link. Regardless of that latter point, these people strongly benefit from “chronotherapies” targeting the circadian system. Some keen docs already know this and try it prior to prescribing drugs. Good on them.

It is known that shift work and seasonal changes in photoperiod can induce mood disorders in some people. There are also a number of genetic polymorphisms in core circadian genes that substantially increase the risk of certain mood disorders. Of course, there is also a bidirectional relationship such that pre-existing mood disorders may contribute to circadian disruptions, but there’s a large body of evidence (including both human & animal studies) supporting a causal relationship.

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