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Fernandez, F., Lu, D., Ha, P., Costacurta, P., Chavez, R., Heller, H. C., et al. (2014). Circadian rhythm. Dysrhythmia in the suprachiasmatic nucleus inhibits memory processing. Science, 346(6211), 854–857.
Abstract: Chronic circadian dysfunction impairs declarative memory in humans but has little effect in common rodent models of arrhythmia caused by clock gene knockouts or surgical ablation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). An important problem overlooked in these translational models is that human dysrhythmia occurs while SCN circuitry is genetically and neurologically intact. Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) are particularly well suited for translational studies because they can be made arrhythmic by a one-time photic treatment that severely impairs spatial and recognition memory. We found that once animals are made arrhythmic, subsequent SCN ablation completely rescues memory processing. These data suggest that the inhibitory effects of a malfunctioning SCN on cognition require preservation of circuitry between the SCN and downstream targets that are lost when these connections are severed.
Figueiro, M. G., Wood, B., Plitnick, B., & Rea, M. S. (2013). The impact of watching television on evening melatonin levels: Impact of watching television on evening melatonin. Jnl Soc Info Display, 21(10), 417–421.
Abstract: Self-luminous electronic devices emit optical radiation at short wavelengths, close to the peak sensitivity of melatonin suppression. The present paper investigated if light from a 178-cm (70 in.) television suppressed melatonin. Results showed that light from televisions does not impact melatonin levels in the evening.
Fonken, L. K., & Nelson, R. J. (2011). Illuminating the deleterious effects of light at night. F1000 Med Rep, 3, 18.
Abstract: Technological advances, while providing many benefits, often create circumstances that differ from the conditions in which we evolved. With the wide-spread adoption of electrical lighting during the 20(th) century, humans became exposed to bright and unnatural light at night for the first time in their evolutionary history. Electrical lighting has led to the wide-scale practice of 24-hour shift-work and has meant that what were once just “daytime” activities now run throughout the night; in many ways Western society now functions on a 24-hour schedule. Recent research suggests that this gain in freedom to function throughout the night may also come with significant repercussions. Disruption of our naturally evolved light and dark cycles can result in a wide range of physiological and behavioral changes with potentially serious medical implications. In this article we will discuss several mechanisms through which light at night may exert its effects on cancer, mood, and obesity, as well as potential ways to ameliorate the impact of light at night.
Fuller, G. (Ed.). (2013). The Night Shift: Lighting and Nocturnal Strepsirrhine Care in Zoos. Ph.D. thesis, , .
Abstract: Over billions of years of evolution, light from the sun, moon, and stars has provided
organisms with reliable information about the passage of time. Photic cues entrain
the circadian system, allowing animals to perform behaviors critical for survival and
reproduction at optimal times. Modern artificial lighting has drastically altered
environmental light cues. Evidence is accumulating that exposure to light at night
(particularly blue wavelengths) from computer screens, urban light pollution, or as
an occupational hazard of night-shift work has major implications for human health.
Nocturnal animals are the shift workers of zoos; they are generally housed on
reversed light cycles so that daytime visitors can observe their active behaviors. As a
result, they are exposed to artificial light throughout their subjective night. The goal
of this investigation was to examine critically the care of nocturnal strepsirrhine
primates in North American zoos, focusing on lorises (Loris and Nycticebus spp.) and pottos (Perodicticus potto). The general hypothesis was that exhibit lighting design affects activity patterns and circadian physiology in nocturnal strepsirrhines. The
first specific aim was to assess the status of these populations. A multi-institutional husbandry survey revealed little consensus among zoos in lighting design, with both red and blue light commonly used for nocturnal illumination. A review of medical records also revealed high rates of neonate mortality. The second aim was to
develop methods for measuring the effects of exhibit lighting on behavior and
health. The use of actigraphy for automated activity monitoring was explored.
Methods were also developed for measuring salivary melatonin and cortisol as
indicators of circadian disruption. Finally, a multi-institutional study was conducted
comparing behavioral and endocrine responses to red and blue dark phase lighting.
These results showed greater activity levels in strepsirrhines housed under red light than blue. Salivary melatonin concentrations in pottos suggested that blue light
suppressed nocturnal melatonin production at higher intensities, but evidence for
circadian disruption was equivocal. These results add to the growing body of
evidence on the detrimental effects of blue light at night and are a step towards
empirical recommendations for nocturnal lighting design in zoos.
Haraguchi, S., Kamata, M., Tokita, T., Tashiro, K. - I., Sato, M., Nozaki, M., et al. (2019). Light-at-night exposure affects brain development through pineal allopregnanolone-dependent mechanisms. Elife, 8, e45306.
Abstract: The molecular mechanisms by which environmental light conditions affect cerebellar development are incompletely understood. We showed that circadian disruption by light-at-night induced Purkinje cell death through pineal allopregnanolone (ALLO) activity during early life in chicks. Light-at-night caused the loss of diurnal variation of pineal ALLO synthesis during early life and led to cerebellar Purkinje cell death, which was suppressed by a daily injection of ALLO. The loss of diurnal variation of pineal ALLO synthesis induced not only reduction in pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), a neuroprotective hormone, but also transcriptional repression of the cerebellar Adcyap1 gene that produces PACAP, with subsequent Purkinje cell death. Taken together, pineal ALLO mediated the effect of light on early cerebellar development in chicks.