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Mars' Sleep Cycle Study May Help Earthlings

August 10, 2007

From a Washington Post article that appeared online Wednesday, August 8, 2007

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- By synchronizing people to the Martian day, U.S. researchers are demonstrating the flexibility of the human biological clock.

The study might help further research into sleep woes, said researchers in the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"Understanding how our biological clock can be adjusted is a critical step in developing therapy for circadian rhythm sleep disorders, which disturb sleep at night and compromise daytime cognitive functioning," lead author Frank A. J. L. Scheer, associate director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at BWH, said in a prepared statement.

His team was able to synchronized volunteers' biological clocks to the 24.65-hour day of Mars and to the 23.5-hour day often experienced by astronauts in low orbit around the Earth.

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