Expanding the Scope of Chronobiology.

Chronobiology is the study of biological rhythms. Three basic cycles have been described: Circadian, ultradian, and infradian rhythms. The circadian rhythm is around 24 hours long and is by far the most extensively researched and studied. Ultradian rhythms are shorter than 24 hours, ranging from a few hours to a few milliseconds. The sympathetic – parasympathetic alternation that occurs approximately every 4 hours with regular eating is an ultradian rhythm. Infradian rhythms last longer than 24 hours, repeating every few days, weeks, months, years or longer.

Franz Halberg (July 5, 1919 – June 9, 2013) is considered the father (“Father Time”) of modern chronobiology, chronoastrobiology and chronomics, defined as the study of environmental and biospheric time structures or chronomes. Franz coined the term circadian. Among other subjects, he studied how the solar wind and geomagnetic activity affected heart rate variability and other physiological processes. An excellent Interview of Franz Halberg by Othild Schwartzkopff can be found at this link: HalbergChronobiologyCenter.umn.edu.

According to Halberg, “We had called the study of biological rhythms chronobiology and had given the name “chronomics” to the aligned mapping of time structures (i.e., chronomes) in both biology and the environment. Eventually the results became the the subject of a chronoastrobiology, as we found more and more reliable signatures of the solar system and thus of the broader cosmos in various important human affairs. Chronobiology is akin to the microscope that provides an opportunity to quantify the partly endogenous biological rhythms, whereas chronomics has an analogy in the telescope that allows the exploration of environmental influences from the larger cosmos.”

The inclusion of “astro” in ChronoAstroBiology is to emphasize the scale and range of influence of these celestial bodies, including their gravitational attraction and their electro-magnetospheres, and the space these fields occupy. Mainstream or medical chronobiology focuses primarily on the circadian RHYTHM (the solar day) without much attention to the celestial bodies that generate the rhythm. ChronoAstroBiology looks beyond the narrow band of light making up the electromagnetic spectrum, and considers the broad impact of not just the magnetospheres (both solar and planetary) but also the impact of the seasons, which is due to the spinning Earth’s axis maintaining a fixed 23.5º tilt relative to the Sun’s axis (due to the conservation of the Earth’s angular momentum) even as the spinning Earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical orbit, due to the gravitational forces involved. According to Halberg, “Living things are open to their environment and depend on whatever they take in from outside. This accounts for shared chronomes (time structures) between biology and physics.”

Photoperiodism, the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day or night, is vital to both plants and animals, and the circadian system plays a role in the measurement and interpretation of day light length, which compared to length of darkness of night, varies due to ecliptic and latitude (placement) of the hour hand. The seasonal (yearly) rhythm has a pronounced impact on the circadian (daily) rhythm, framing the circadian clock face (the twilight dial) and determining the 4 corners of a solar day (Sun rise, noon, Sun set and midnight). This seasonal variation (which is also impacted by your location on the Earth; your latitude away from the 0º equator) significantly impacts the implementation and effectiveness of chronodiet and chronofasting.

The timely prediction of seasonal periods of weather conditions, food availability, agricultural stages and predator activity is crucial for the survival of many species. Although not the only parameter, the changing length of the photoperiod (‘daylength’) is the most predictive environmental cue for the seasonal timing of physiology and behavioral changes, most notably for the timing of migration, hibernation, sexual behavior and reproduction. (MONAD graphically represents the photoperiod as the Twilight Dial, which shows the proportion of night and daylight at any time of year and latitude.)

Rhythmicity appears to be as important in regulating and coordinating internal metabolic processes as it is in coordinating with the environment. Circadian and seasonal rhythms allow organisms to anticipate and prepare for precise and regular environmental changes. They allow organisms to better capitalize on environmental resources (e.g. light, heat and food) compared to those that cannot predict such availability. (We humans have structured our civil calendars to keep track of the seasonal year by inserting leap days approximately every 4 years to keep our civil calendar in alignment with the seasonal year.)

According to Halberg, “The patterns in time of the electrical potentials of the heart and brain in health and disease reflect the cycles found in the cosmos. So we look for cycles in humans corresponding to the cycles in the solar system and cosmos, find them and study any alterations in us when the cycles outside exacerbate or disappear, an approach equivalent to addition and subtraction. We are especially interested in the variability of the sun, which gives us an opportunity to study living matter, usually ourselves, during spans when the sun is active to the point of magnetic storms and when it is quiet. We then compare our physiology when some components in the spectrum of the sun are present and when they are absent or not detected because they are buried in noise. This, in its extreme, a remove-and-replace approach, is most helpful in looking for associations beyond the concomitance of events around and in us, in our blood pressure and heart rate, in the ECG, in our endocrine system and in the cell.” (31)

New Directions in Chronobiology.

ChronoAstroBiology is the recognition that our animal biology is impacted by our environment, even at the scale of the planets, the Sun and Moon. Frans Halberg conducted numerous studies involving the impact of the planetary magnetosphere and the solar magnetosphere on human bodies. But what about the other planets making up the solar system? Venus and Mars have induced magnetospheres, but all the other planets making up the solar system have intrinsic magnetospheres. Magnetospheres extend to infinity. I suggest that there is no reason to discount the impact these planetary magnetosphere may have on planet Earth, and even our human bodies, except due to some inherent prejudice associated with the ancient science of astrology, which has long asserted that the planets have an impact on the affairs of man. Check out this article on The History of Monads and Monadology. Scientific astrology is based on planetary magnetospheres. Find out more about Scientific Astrology by watching this series of 4 Videos.

Another area that needs to be more fully addressed when it comes to chronobiology is our complementary relationship with plants. Biology is the study of living beings and that includes both plants and animals, which are complementary organisms. Plants and animals are effected by the same chronomes. Check out this article on The Heart of the Solar System, and how plants and animals are related.