Obesity linked to mis-matching meals with body-time clock patterns

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th May 2012

A mismatch between the body’s internal clock and the realities of daily eating habits may contribute to the growing tide of obesity, according to new research from the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel.

Dr Gad Asher, clinician and medical researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, discussed the research findings today at a symposium on obesity and the metabolic syndrome, held in Melbourne this week under the auspices Monash University and the Weizmann Institute of Science at the State Library of Victoria.

Dr Asher said that a new approach to tackling obesity involves understanding the body’s circadian clock.

The circadian clock is the internal biological timing system that regulates the daily fluctuations in heartbeat, blood pressure, kidney function, secretion of hormones, body temperature, and sensory perception.

A single ‘master clock’ that resides in the brain was previously thought to control the body. However, Dr Asher said his research team have shown on a molecular and cellular level why this is not the case.

“We were surprised to find that every cell in your body has a circadian clock,” he says. The brain synchronises peripheral ‘clocks’ found in the cells of other organs.

Dr Asher said his team has discovered that a protein related to ageing and metabolism, called SIRT1, is the “missing link between the circadian clocks and metabolism”.

Dr Asher believes that he has identified the molecular mechanisms linking the circadian clock and metabolic disorders such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the laboratory.

Other speakers included A/Prof Shantha Rajaratnam (Monash University), Prof Paul Zimmet (Baker IDI Institute), Prof Michael Cowley (Monash University) amongst numerous others.

More information on the program can be found at: http://www.med.monash.edu.au/physiology/docs/program.pdf