Melatonin, a natural hormone segregated by the own human body, is an excellent sleep regulator expected to replace somniferous, which are much more aggressive, to correct the sleep/wakefulness pace when human biological clock becomes altered.
Those are the conclusions of a research work carried out by Darío Acuña-Castroviejo and Germaine Escames, professors of the Institute of Biotechnology (Biomedical Research Centre of the University of Granada), who have been carrying out a complete analysis of the properties of this natural hormone segregated by the pineal gland for years.
Melatonin (frequently called the ‘hormone of darkness’, because the organism produces it at night) is currently being used by the pharmaceutical industry to design derivative synthetic medicines, a very interesting therapeutic tool for the treatment of sleep alterations. Not in vain, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) authorized in 2007 the use of melatonin for this type of therapies, after years of debate about the convenience of this measure.
The authors of this work, published in the Revista de Neurología (2009), state that endogenous melatonin (this is, that segregated by the human organism) “plays an important role in the circadian regulation of sleep”, whereas exogenous melatonin (administered as a medicine) “has an influence on sleep aspects such as latency and quality”.
Actually, the ability of melatonin to readapt the biological clock has been studied in blind individuals, as they cannot make use of the information of the photoperiod to activate the endogenous pacemaker segregated by melatonin at night. The scientists have pointed out that the administration of melatonin every 24 hours (1-10 mg/a day) re-establishes the pace in these persons, including the sleep/wakefulness, synchronizing them to a period of 24 hours.
The use of melatonin to regulate sleep is not the only work carried out at the Institute of Biotechnology of the UGR. In the last years, professors Acuña and Escames have proved that this substance is also useful to slow down cell ageing, to treat diseases such as Parkinson and to slow down cell death caused by serious infectious processes that affect the entire organism technically known as sepsis. Exactly, they are working at present on a clinical test in Phase II to assess the therapeutic of melatonin in the septic shock on patients, funded by the Health Institute Carlos III.Reference: Professors Darío Acuña Castroviejo and Germaine Escames
Darío Acuña Castroviejo | EurekAlert!
Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences