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Tuesday 13th January 2009: "Rhythms of life - the 24-hour body clocks that rule our lives"

A 24h biological (circadian) clock controls, modulates and fine-tunes our sleep patterns, alertness, mood, physical strength, blood pressure, and every other aspect of our physiology and behaviour. Even our responses to different drug treatments show a large daily variation. Under normal conditions we experience a 24 hour pattern of light and dark, and our clock uses this signal to align biological time to the day and night. The clock is then capable of anticipating the differing demands of the 24 hour day and adjusting our biology in advance of the changing conditions. Body temperature drops, blood pressure decreases, tiredness increases in anticipation of going to bed. Whilst before dawn, metabolism is geared-up in anticipation of increased activity. The past decade has witnessed remarkable progress in understanding the mechanisms that generate circadian rhythms and sleep, and in parallel, an appreciation of the severe consequences of ignoring the impact of these rhythms on our health and quality of life. The presentation will consider how circadian rhythms are generated and why internal time must be taken into consideration in both medical treatments and in our increasingly 24/7 society.

Professor Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology in the University of Oxford.

Come along and join us at 7pm in Blackwells Main Bookshop, Broad Street, Oxford.
No ticket, no booking, no scientific background required.

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