How light at night could double your risk of cancer.

The World Health Organization listed ‘light at night’ as a possible carcinogen in 2007. That is an eye-opening statement for something that affects almost all of us. From streetlights to the lamp in the living room, from accent garden lighting to the glow of…

Circadian Rhythm Connections, Part 2: Weight Loss and Meal Timing

There are five key elements to weight loss from a circadian point of view: Timing of Meals; Light Exposure; Sleep; What to Eat, When; and Genetic Variants.  All of these can come together in our modern world to give you a propensity to gain…

Circadian Rhythm Genes: Mood Disorders

Roosters crowing at the first crack of daylight. Morning glories unfurling their blooms as the sun rises in the sky. Lightning bugs flickering just as dusk falls. Most people intuitively understand that plants respond to sunlight, using photosynthesis to produce energy and store sugar…

Lithium: A mineral that affects mood, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and telomeres

Researchers found that Texas counties with higher levels of lithium in their groundwater had less of an increase in Alzheimer’s rates compared with counties that had lower levels of lithium. This isn’t a total surprise since previous studies had linked lithium to a decreased risk of dementia, but it is a great confirmation at a large scale population level. 

Genetics of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Winter Blues… described as a low feeling, generally apathetic, blah, usually accompanied by changes in sleep.  It is fairly common in northern latitudes, affecting almost 10% of some populations. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a recurrent depression with a change in…

Weight Loss: Optimizing your diet based on your genes

Diet gurus, talking heads on TV, government food pyramids, and your friend who lost 20 pounds… What do they all have in common?  They all know the perfect diet that will whip you into shape and make you feel good. If that diet doesn’t…

Circadian Rhythms: Genes at the Core of Our Internal Clocks

Circadian rhythms are the natural biological rhythms that shape our biology.  Most people know about the master clock in our brain that keeps us on a wake-sleep cycle over 24 hours.  This is driven by our master “clock’ genes. It turns out that we…

Color TV has made us fat: melatonin, genetics, and light at night

Color TV has made us fat! Nope, not just because of the commercials advertising Taco Bell at night nor the fact that we are laying on our couches watching those commercials.  The flickering blue light that can be seen each evening pouring out of…

PPARG: A genetic variant that can protect against obesity and type-2 diabetes, but only if you eat the right diet.

The PPARG (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) gene has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and risk for type-2 diabetes. This gene is involved in the regulation of fatty acid storage and in glucose metabolism. PPAR-gamma is activated by omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and regulates…