Health Care

Nighttime Injuries Heal More Slowly

Nighttime Injuries Heal More Slowly”

Every cell in the body has an innate 24-hour clock that dictates how it operates. Researchers in the United Kingdom have discovered that wounds that occur in the daytime heal up to 11 days quicker than those that have occurred at night, and could pave the way for the development of drugs that would help speed up the recovery of patients.

Researchers say the body's clock, or circadian rhythm, is the reason for the difference, because it regulates crucial body processes including sleeping, metabolism and hormone secretion.

Cuts and burns take about 60 per cent longer to heal if they happen at night, according to a study that suggests that the human body clock slows the process when we are supposed to be resting.

The researchers found that this effect was mirrored in humans with burns, by collaborating with clinicians and analysing the records of 118 patients with burn injuries, using a database from all major burns units in England and Wales.

Night-time burns - sustained between 8pm to 8am -were 95% healed after an average of 28 days, compared with only 17 days if the burn happened between 8am and 8pm.

'For people who had burns, we found quite a big difference in wound healing speed, which agreed perfectly with the predictions we made based on our findings in the lab.

Tests using skin cells showed that during the internal body clock's "daytime", wounds to the skin healed nearly twice as efficiently as wounds incurred during the night.

"Further research into the link between body clocks and wound healing may help us to develop drugs that prevent defective wound healing or even help us to improve surgery outcomes", said lead author Ned Hoyle, also from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

The report's senior author, John O'Neill, speculates that our bodies may have evolved to heal fastest during the day when injuries are more likely to occur.

Looking into the reasons behind this stark difference, the researchers found that the skin cells move into the site of injury much faster during the day than at night, a behavior that was driven by an increase in activity of a protein called actin, known for its role in cell movement and fix.

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