Circadian rhythms: keeping pace with developments

Hans G Stampfer and Sean D Hood
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02908.x
Published online: 2 November 2009

How far has our understanding of chronobiology come in the past 40 years?

An MJA editorial on circadian rhythms published nearly 40 years ago lamented the “neglect ... in part engendered by the air of mysticism which surrounded much of the earlier work in this field” that had obscured recognition of their importance to health.1 Since that time, basic research has explored various aspects, including the intracellular generation of circadian oscillations, their intercellular synchronisation, the entrainment of the circadian “system” by environmental time cues or “zeitgebers” such as light, and circadian variation in biological functioning. Further, clinical research has focused on the consequences of circadian disruption, circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSDs), circadian abnormalities in affective disorders, and chronotherapy. Here, we summarise some of these key advances.

  • Hans G Stampfer1,2
  • Sean D Hood1,3

  • 1 School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.
  • 2 Joondalup Health Campus, Joondalup, WA.
  • 3 QEII Medical Centre, Perth, WA.


Competing interests:

Servier Australia provided Sean Hood with an unrestricted educational grant that sponsored his participation in this work. Servier had no contribution to or involvement with the content or submission of this manuscript.


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