'Our body clocks can determine how we experience illnesses'

Irish research has shown a connection between the immune system and the body’s natural body clock.

For the first time it has been explained why some illnesses, such as arthritis and even the common cold, are experienced differently at different times of the day.

“We know that the body’s circadian rhythms, also known as the body clock, regulates around 50pc of the genes in our DNA. But it does it a bit differently in different parts of the body so understanding all its effects is very difficult,” said Annie Curtis, lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons. “Shift workers defy their body clocks and are active and eat at times that are unnatural, and that also has an effect on their immune systems. They are much more susceptible to inflammatory diseases such as cancer and obesity.”

Ms Curtis is a featured researcher in ‘Super Bodies’, the first of the four ‘Science Apprentice’ books, produced by UCD and partners and free with the Irish Independent at SuperValu stores from Saturday.

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