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The researcher who discovered the third light receptor of the eye

The researcher who discovered the third light receptor of the eye

He has studied our circadian rhythm for decades and according to him, much of what we think we know about our sleep is wrong.

Russell Foster, professor of diurnal neurology and director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Oxford. Ophthalmology is the study of the eye and its diseases and circadian neuroscience is about understanding how our biology works around the clock, but also understanding how different structures in the brain interact and how different genes and their protein products create complex behaviour, he writes. Watchman.

Over the past 25 years, researchers have begun to better understand how 24-hour biological oscillations are created, and Russell Foster says he believes it’s a biomedical success story.

Our daily rhythm

“One of the great purposes of neuroscience is to identify different parts of the brain with different functions and here we have one: the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the SCN, with 50,000 cells, is the leading rhythmic pacemaker. If you didn’t have it, all our rhythms would be gone over the course of a period of time,” he told the Guardian. 24 hours”.

Humans have optical cells that capture light and then forget it. Russell Foster thought about how to use a light-sensing system to collect light information for extended periods and in the early 1990s he and his colleagues proposed an undetected photoreceptor in the eye.

The proposal was not well received by other researchers, but Russell Foster and his colleagues did not give up.

third photoreceptor

“Because I knew there were strange photoreceptors in birds and fish, it wasn’t a big deal for me to make the conceptual leap of saying, ‘Maybe there’s another photoreceptor in the mammalian eye,'” he told The Guardian.

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Russell Foster’s discovery of the third photoreceptors, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, pRGCs, gave us knowledge about how light controls our circadian rhythm.

The effect of electric light

Electric light has had a significant impact on the development of our societies, social interaction and our behaviour. It was also a democrat, but, we humans have the power to take everything away and think we’re not under the control of our biology, but we do.

Russell Foster says you can push your 24-hour biology a little in one direction or another, but respect it or you’ll run into problems. The modern world has created problems for our body clocks.

One of the problems is working the night shift, it brings with it many problems and 97 percent of all night workers don’t cope. It increases the risks of coronary heart disease, cancer, immunosuppression, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

sleep dynamic

Advances in circadian and sleep research are important to health. Sleep censors who say you have to sleep eight hours and that you can’t look at a tablet before going to bed are wrong. Russell Foster believes sleep is like shoe size: one size doesn’t fit all. According to him, sleep is an incredibly dynamic part of our biology.

according to Russell Foster is the worst enemy of stress and anxiety, so find a way to unwind at the end of the day. Morning light is important for setting the body clock, and it also helps make the bedroom a haven for sleep.

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Read more: Sleep researcher: It’s good that sleep has become something we talk about [Dagens PS]