Monday, November 5, 2007

Chronotherapy: For Some Treatments, It's About Time

Many of our body's internal processes are cyclical. There are daily patterns, like waking and sleeping, monthly patterns, like a woman's menstrual cycle, and even seasonal patterns, like those that cause seasonal-affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months. But doctors are only recently beginning to understand these rhythms' impact on other conditions well enough to more effectively treat their patients.

The idea that medical treatments can be improved based on when they are given to a patient is called chronotherapy. And by making use of this good timing, doctors are finding that they are more effectively treating a wide-range of diseases such as asthma, arthritis and cancer, all while reducing side effects.

"Chronomedicine can help you cope better with short-lasting illnesses such as colds and flu, episodic ones such as headaches and back pain and persistent ailments such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and more," says Dr. Michael Smolensky, co-author of the book The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.

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