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Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008 Aug;37(8):662-8.

Basic science review on circadian rhythm biology and circadian sleep disorders.

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Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore.


The sleep-wake cycle displays a characteristic 24-hour periodicity, providing an opportunity to dissect the endogenous circadian clock through the study of aberrant behaviour. This article surveys the properties of circadian clocks, with emphasis on mammals. Information was obtained from searches of peer-reviewed literature in the PUBMED database. Features that are highlighted include the known molecular components of clocks, their entrainment by external time cues and the output pathways used by clocks to regulate metabolism and behaviour. A review of human circadian rhythm sleep disorders follows, including recent discoveries of their genetic basis. The article concludes with a discussion of future approaches to the study of human circadian biology and sleep-wake behaviour.

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