Role of Chronobiology as a Transdisciplinary Field of Research: Its Applications in Treating Mood Disorders.
Chronobiology is a field that studies the effects of time on biological systems. Periodicity is of particular interest. The master biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus controls daily rhythms of core body temperature, rest-activity cycle, physiological and behavioral functions, psychomotor functions and mood in humans. The clock genes are involved in the generation of the circadian rhythms and the biological clock is synchronized to solar day by direct photic inputs. Various circadian rhythm abnormalities have been demonstrated in mood disorders such as unipolar depression, bipolar depression and seasonal affective disorder. Hypotheses involving circadian rhythm abnormalities related to the etiology of mood disorders have been raised. The resulting circadian rhythm changes can be measured and evaluated that these techniques can be used to identify subtypes of mood disorders associated with circadian rhythm changes. The data obtained from chronobiological studies reveal methods that manipulate circadian rhythms. The effects of light and melatonin on circadian rhythms are determined by these studies. Chronobiological research has been applied to the psychiatric clinic and light therapy has been used as a chronotherapeutic in the treatment of mood disorders. On the other hand, chronotherapeutic approaches with effects on circadian rhythms such as sleep deprivation therapy have been used in the treatment of mood disorders too. As a good example of translational psychiatry, chronobiological studies have been projected in the psychiatry clinic. It may be possible, the data obtained from the basic sciences are used in the diagnosis of mood disorders and in the treatment of psychiatric disorders as chronotherapeutic techniques. Developments in the field of chronobiology and data obtained from chronotherapeutics may enable the development of evidence-based diagnosis and treatment in psychiatry.
Balkan Med J. 2017 Dec 1;34(6):514-521. doi: 10.4274/balkanmedj.2017.1280. Epub 2017 Oct 26.