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Ultradian, circahoral and circadian structures in endothermic vertebrates and humans.

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  • 1French National Institutes of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Physiopathological Mechanisms of Environmental Nuisances Research Group, Le VĂ©sinet, France.


1. For more than 30 years many studies have been carried out concerning rhythms with periods approaching 24 hr (circadian rhythms). 2. The latter have been demonstrated as resulting from environmental 24 hr synchronizers (zeitgebers), but they usually persist in the absence of a 24 hr synchronization, which proves their endogenous nature. 3. Biological rhythms with periods less than 20 hr (ultradian rhythms) and particularly those approaching 1 hr (circahoral rhythms) have been determined: for motility, rest-activity, sleep phases, endocrine secretions and other physiological functions. 4. These ultradian and circahoral rhythms have been found in rodents, birds, monkeys and humans. 5. Existing at all stages of ontogeny, they have been proved to be endogenous and species and strain specific. 6. As these ultradian rhythms can be influenced by environmental factors and sometimes by circadian rhythms they are not truly periodic, so therefore cannot be computed by the usual processes of mathematical time analysis.

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