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Int J Chronobiol. 1983;8(3):129-47.

Period lengthening of human circadian rhythms by lithium carbonate, a prophylactic for depressive disorders.


The effect of lithium carbonate on the circadian system of man was studied. Four out of eight volunteers living without time cues in isolated huts in the arctic showed a lengthening of the periods of the body temperature rhythm, activity rhythm, and sleep/wakefulness rhythm by c. 1 h. Four of the participants did not show a change in the periods between the placebo and lithium ingestion phases. Two subjects who did not receive lithium salt showed internal desynchronization between the temperature rhythm and the sleep/wakefulness rhythm. Extreme isolation in bunkers is not necessary to allow free running of the circadian system in man. The sleep/wakefulness rhythm, which is very easy to record, was a reliable indicator of the circadian system in the internally-synchronized state.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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