Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Mechanisms linking season of birth to later-life circadian and mood disorders

Principal Investigator: Mr Altug Didikoglu
Approved Research ID: 41877
Approval date: February 28th 2019

Lay summary

Season of birth has been correlated with a number diseases such schizophrenia, diabetes, affective disorders, allergy and neurodegenerative disorders. Chronobiology is also added to this list of phenotypes that is programmed in the early life. Daily preferences (chronotype) of sleeping times may be determined in the postnatal period. Machanism underlying this postnatal programming of biological clock is a focus of interest since a balanced circadian rhythm is essential for physiological and mental health. It has been demonstrated in previous studies that season of birth may modify epigenetics, gene expression, neural activity and brain morphology. A study of UK Biobank data with this magnitude would provide a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying the programming effects of early light environment during development. We will compare season of birth and chronotype of participants using staistcal analysis. We aim to investigate how season of birth may alter our daily activity, sleep quality, mood and brain morphology. The environment contributes to our development from in utero to adulthood. In a modern world with light pollution, our rhythm may be disrupted. How illumination of neonatal intensive care units or pregnant mothers working shift work will affect human biology is unknown. The season of birth most likely influences human mood and circadian health. When understood in greater detail, we can provide guidance and policy on best aproaches to maintain good sleep hygiene practices to improve human well-being.