Novel Blood Test Determines Individuals Internal Body Clock


Scientists at Chicago’s Northwestern University developed TimeSignature test, which requires just two blood draws at any time of day

Human bodies have an internal clock which determines various daily biological processes. However, if the clock in unsynchronized with the actual time of the day then it can be harmful. Novel blood test developed by scientists can reportedly determine if that’s the case to address the situation. Our internal biological clock directs our body’s circadian rhythm, determines biological processes such as sleep-wake cycle. Misalignment of these clock can lead to complications such as sleep and mood disorders, heart problems, diabetes and cognitive decline.

The procedure involves withdrawing blood samples of an individual once an hour over a course of multiple hours. As a part of study, team analyzed blood samples from a group of healthy test subjects once every two hours throughout the day. As a result, it was observed that levels of 40 different gene expression markers were consistently higher or lower in those samples, at specific times. Furthermore, machine-learning-based algorithm was developed to accurately calculate the time of day at which a sample was drawn, based on the concentration of markers.

In the TimeSignature test, a patient’s levels of gene expression markers were compared to standard for the times of day at which the blood samples were withdrawn. It is possible to gauge the accuracy of that person’s internal clock to within 1.5 hours. If it’s significantly misaligned, steps can be taken to correct the problem. Furthermore, if the patient is being put on medication that should be taken at a specific point in their circadian rhythm, the test will indicate time of day. A paper on the research was recently published in the journal PNAS in September 12, 2018.


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