circadian vs annular rhytyms and CH

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Posted by gary ( on November 23, 1999 at 13:38:10:

In Reply to: gary posted by BobG on November 23, 1999 at 07:27:44:

Hi Bob

good info-filled response

I AGREE completely with you about habituating to individualized circadian activity cycles.

What I was trying to say, perhaps not clearly enough,
was that CHANGING ones daily schedule FREQUENTLY is not good, even if maintaining a "different" schedule is OK.

And by not good, I don't mean we CAN'T do it - of course we can.
I mean it isn't GOOD to do it just because we can.

In a great many of these cases, in much of the animal world, it is not so much a given set of environmental/behavioral conditions that is determines, but the CHANGE between different conditions - that works for breeding, migration, hibernation, body size variance, etc..

Put simply - I don't think it is real important whether we are "day" people or "night" people, as long as we don't switch back and forth all the time, and as long as it doesn't take a lot of "artificial" aids to maintain comfort and health in an "unnatural" schedule.

As far as the GENERAL effect of light on our biology - that isn't even open to debate any more - many of our critical processes REQUIRE natural spectrum light. Perhaps we can compensate for the lack thereof with supplemental or replacement strategies, but lots of things are possible than aren't necessarily desirable.

re: Circadian rhythyms - much of my post was dragged out to try to point out - ONCE MORE - the BIG BIG differences between the role of circadian (daily) patterns, and annular (yearly) cycles.

SOME people are looking at simply the length of day re: CH.
Similar to the ideas about Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I believe that may, or may not, play a part in CH, and certainly bears investigating - but it is not what I am talking about.

What I'm very interested in is the ANNULAR cycles,
which ties into the idea of CHANGE between states (see above) sometimes being a more powerful stimulus than the states themself. (like the joke about a 1000'fall not killing you, but the sudden change to not falling will)

As far as what is or isn't "healthy" -

1. That's more a philosophical point than something that can be objectively determined.
My own belief is that we can guage our "health" by the variety and amount of substances and techniques required to keep us "feeling good".

If it is necessary to take any medications, vitamins, etc. then we are , by definition, not healthy in my opinion. Granted, our culture makes it almost impossible for us to be "healthy" without artificial aides, so it isn't a question of good or bad - just what is.

2. I am frankly amused when anybody with cluster headaches - the cause or cure of which aren't even vaguely recognized yet - says they have a handle on their health and bodily stability. Uh......if we're doing so well, why is our head blowing up like Old Faithful ?

As far as weather conditions go - cold/hot, etc.. That has often been proposed by folks, as relating to their CH.
Usually, there are a LOT of "holes" in their conclusions though - they may see a pattern in their individual case, but if we back off and look at numbers of patients, it doesn't hold.

My focus for a long time has been on the seasonality, and it certainly doesn't hold up at all for "weather" conditions -
BUT there are serious indications it may be tied to the Rate of Change of daylength - which varies a LOT thru the year, peaking in midfall & midspring - and to that idea, there haven't YET surfaced any serious, disqualifying, observations, and it is the ONLY thing that is unchanging year to year.

I don't think it has to do with how much light we get each day, as much as it does with how big the CHANGE between daylight time is day to day. When it's a small change, we're OK, when it's a large change - watch out.

I ALSO don't think this is necessarily a direct trigger.
Not everything that happens today is the result of what we do/experience today.

This could just as easily be some sort of polygenetic recombination, of a group of recessives lingering from eons back, relating to annular light rhythyms, that occasionally randomly conjoin in the population to produce a Clusterhead.

Then - once that's set up in a person, the specific "triggering" events can be something else all together, just as the relief agents may have no DIRECT connection to the triggering agent.

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