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Exp Gerontol. 1995 Sep-Oct;30(5):455-74.

Circadian temperature rhythms of older people.

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  • 1Sleep and Chronobiology Center, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


This collection of studies had the aim of exploring whether older (77+ years) men and women have circadian body temperature rhythms different from those of younger adults. A total of 20 older men and 28 older women were compared with either 22 young men or 14 middle-aged men in four protocols; all but the first protocol using a subset of the sample. The four protocols were: 1) 24 h, and 2) 72 h data collections on a normal laboratory routine (sleeping at night); 3) between 36 h and 153 h of field data collection at home; and 4) 36 h of a constant conditions routine (wakeful bedrest under temporal isolation) in the laboratory. There was some evidence for an age-related phase advance in temperature rhythm, especially for the older men on a normal routine, though this was not present in the constant conditions protocol, where 5 of the older subjects showed major delays in the timing of the body temperature trough (10:00 or later). There was no statistically significant evidence from any of the protocols that older subjects generally had lower temperature rhythm amplitudes than younger adults. Only when older men were compared with younger men in 24-h rhythm amplitude by simple t-test did any comparison involving amplitude achieve statistical significance (p < 0.05).

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