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Artificial Light May Damage Biological Clock In Premature Babies

Researchers from the Vanderbilt University say that constant exposure to artificial light may interfere with the normal development of premature babies' biological// clocks. The study appears in the journal Pediatric Research. The researchers found that the lighting in the hospital interferes with the master biological clock in the babies.

Earlier research had found that the babies slept through the night more quickly and gained weight faster. The master biological clock is mainly responsible for regulating the activity of many organs, including the brain, heart, liver and lungs.

In the current study conducted on mice, the researchers found that newborn mice were vulnerable to the effects of constant light. 'All this is speculative at this point. But, certainly the data would indicate that human infants benefit from the synchronizing effect of a normal light cycle,' said Lead researcher Dr Douglas McMahon. He added that they needed to see if this disruption could cause mood disorders in premature babies.

Professor Andrew Shennan, an expert in obstetrics for Tommy's, said the study was interesting, 'As a result of this research the potential benefit of reducing unnecessary light exposure must now be investigated, as it would seem that there is a strong possibility that this could improve the development of the body clock.'

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