Biologists at the University of Virginia have discovered a switching mechanism in the eye that plays a key role in regulating the sleep/wake cycles in mammals. The new finding demonstrates that light receptor cells in the eye are central to setting the rhythms of the brain’s primary timekeeper, the suprachiasmatic nuclei, which regulates activity and rest cycles. The finding appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Susan Doyle, a research scientist at U.Va. and the study’s lead investigator said, “The finding is significant because it changes our understanding of how light input from the eye can affect activity and sleep patterns.”
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