What time is inside your body? Not out of it, but within it? A new simple blood test can reveal for the first time every human biological clock, opening up new healing possibilities, scientists said in the US.
The TimeSignature test, which requires only two blood samplings, can tell physicians what a person’s biological time is and how much it differs from time to time in the outside world. For example, watches may show eight in the morning, but the time in the body is six in the morning, a two-hour difference.
Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, headed by Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics Rosemary Brown, who published the journal in the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), said that thanks to the new test, scientists will now be able to easily study the impact of “unleashed” biological clocks on various diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, asthma, etc.
“It’s a much more accurate and specialized measure than just to see if someone is naturally a morning or a biological guy,” Brown said. Until now, similar estimates for “body time” could only be made through costly and time-consuming procedures, while the new hematologic test simplifies things a lot.
Biological mechanisms and processes in almost every tissue and organ of the body are orchestrated by an internal biological clock that controls the so-called circadian rhythm, such as the sleep-wake cycle. In some people, the biological clock is synchronized with external time, but in several there is disharmony and divergence between the two hours, the body and the environment.
The bigger the deviation between the two clocks, the more people’s predisposition for different illnesses increases, and the physicians can also predict who is healthy today is more likely to get sick in the future. When the new test is ready for clinical use (Nortwestern University has already patented the patent), it will help doctors, for example, to administer doses of drugs at appropriate times, depending on the body time of each patient.
The best time for treatment to be more effective (eg for a hypertension drug or chemotherapy) may vary from person to person depending on its internal clock. The new test measures 40 different genes of gene expression in the blood, and then, with the help of a specific artificial intelligence algorithm, estimates body time.