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Time of day influences our susceptibility to infection, study suggests

August 17, 2016
virusWe are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day as our body clock affects the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help explain why shift workers, whose body clocks are routinely disrupted, are more prone to health problems, including infections and chronic disease.   When a virus enters our body, it hijacks the machinery and resources in our cells to help it replicate and spread throughout the body. However, the resources on offer fluctuate throughout the day, partly in response to our circadian rhythms – in effect, our body clock. Circadian rhythms control many aspects of our physiology and bodily functions – from our sleep patterns to body temperature, and from our immune systems to the release of hormones. These cycles are controlled by a number of genes, including Bmal1 and Clock.   To test whether our circadian rhythms affect susceptibility to, or progression of, infection, researchers at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, compar

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