Long-term research on the effects of lifestyle on the biological clock

Scientists from the Netherlands and Canada are to investigate whether lifestyle changes can help to restore the 24-hour rhythm of people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Dutch researchers, including Professor Patrick Schrauwen of Maastricht University, have already concluded that people with a predisposition to type 2 diabetes have a disrupted circadian rhythm, or biological clock. People who do shift work, for example, are also known to be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Time-bound interventions

Project leader Schrauwen is conducting the new study in collaboration with colleagues including Professor André Carpentier of the Canadian Université de Sherbrooke. ‘The research shows what time-bound lifestyle interventions affect the metabolism of people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes,’ Schrauwen says. ‘Based on these results, we will develop effective lifestyle interventions to reduce their risk. There are already clear indications that eating, exercising and sleeping at the “right times” has a beneficial effect on people’s health. ‘It can make a big difference whether we do exercise in the morning, afternoon or evening.’

International

The long-term international research titled ‘The Right Timing to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes’ (TIMED) has been made possible in part by a collaboration between Dutch and Canadian organisations. The Diabetes Fund, ZonMw, Health Holland, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and private partners are jointly contributing around five million euros.

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