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How Can I Heal If You Won’t Let Me Sleep?

Illustration showing Atrial Fibrillation. Photo credit: IStock wildpixelCircadian rhythms are found in all living organisms, including humans, animals and plants. Often referred to as the body’s biological clock, these rhythms follow the 24-hour daily cycle of our earth and help us adapt to light and dark, signal when to be active and when to rest and indicate when to sleep and be awake. Circadian rhythms are important for many critical body functions including the way that we heal from disease or... injury.

When rhythms are disrupted, the body fails to receive the correct signals to function at an optimal level. Since up to 25 per cent of the population engages in shift work at some point in their working career, travellers frequently deal with jetlag and people commonly suffer from sleep disorders – there are many situations where circadian rhythms can be disrupted in our everyday lives.

Prof. Tami Martino, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of GuelphProf. Tami Martino, director of the University of Guelph’s Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations and associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), investigates how disrupting body clocks and sleep drives diseases.

Martino’s research reveals that even short-term disruption of circadian rhythms, such as that experienced in ICUs and hospital wards, may worsen a patient’s long-term outcome. However, the heart’s circadian biology can be therapeutically manipulated by genetic, environmental or pharmacologic approaches to slow or reverse damage. Dr. Martino is leading the way with innovative research and a new field of medicine called “Circadian Medicine”, which will help lead to longer, healthier lives for animals and humans.

Read more on the OVC Pet Trust website

Read more in the fall / winter issue of Best Friends Magazine.

(Illustration credit: IStock wildpixel)