Photoperiodism and Related Phenomena in Plants and Animals

By Robert B. Withrow | Go to book overview
the adrenal cortical and metabolic "arousals" ordinarily precede in time cerebral cortical arousal.Can the altered phase relations of these "arousals" result in functional impairment? Moreover, if left uncorrected, can such an impairment of synchronization underlie disease? These are interesting clinical problems, but their discussion is beyond the scope of this Symposium. Here we have to note only that, at present, periodicity analysis for clinical purposes represents no more that a potential tool, awaiting rigorous tests of its usefulness. But in more basic fields related to medicine, the method had proved itself in several instances as a workable approach to at least one aspect of the critical problem of physiologic changes with time.
SUMMARY
1. The desirability and feasibility of obtaining quantitative descriptions of physiologic 24-hr periodicity by sample estimates of period and amplitude have been illustrated.
2. Free-running circadian periods (periods that may be slightly but significant different from 24-hr) have been explored at several levels of physiologic organization in mammals.
3. Several observations of 24-hr rhythms made under conditions standardized for periodicity analysis in the mammal have been disclosed, and several other rhythms earlier described by others have been reexamined under the same conditions. Maps "in time" for 24-hr periodic physiologic changes thus were obtained. Such maps describe a sequential order in time among physiologic events at several levels of organization; they refer to normal and pathologic variables and extend from the organization as a whole to certain aspects of nuclear or cytoplasmic functions.
4. Some factors from within the organism which underlie the normal period of mammalian 24-hr rhythms, such as the adrenal cycle and a metabolic sequence of cellular events are discussed.
5. The effect of factors from without the organism, such as the lightning schedule and/or the daily routine, was then illustrated in the case of man and mouse; a species differences in the timing of rhythms is documented.

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