'Consider the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms' (16)
Biological rhythms are usually aligned with the exogenous factors, and if exogenous factors do change then it’s usually gradual. The interplay between these two factors are what keep our physiological processes in line.
An explanation that examines the consequences of disrupting that interplay is jet lag. This is caused by travelling across time zones so quickly that the endogenous and exogenous don’t have time to align. This causes sleepiness and restlessness until resynchronisation takes place which is best done through following exogenous cues such as day light. The consequences of jet lag and thus biological rhythms disruption are loss of appetite, disorientation, nausea and insomnia.
Firstly Webb supports that the best way to resynchronise is to follow exogenous zeitgebers. This is because he argues that outdoor pursuits, exposure to light and regular meal time are all really important when recovering from jet lag. This is clearly exogenous related because they are factors external to the person and fit in with society rather than a personal biological rhythm.
Furthermore, Recht looks at the problems of East bound flights suffering more problems than West bound flights. They do it in terms of baseball teams, Recht found that in a 3 year study teams that travelled to the East in America lost 37% more games than teams travelling to the west. This suggests that players suffering phase advance have more severe consequences than those suffering from phase delay symptoms. However, the validity of this study is questionable because the researcher has chosen a typically biased topic where teams are superior to others and so it may be that teams are just better, rather than jet lag playing a part in the loss percentage.
Furthermore, Harma further supports that consequences are clear in jet lag. This is because they studies a 4 day flight across 10 times zones and found that participants became sleepier, were less attentive and their endogenous was out of sync. This all supports that there are consequences to disrupting the biological rhythm and that in fact the exogenous does play a part in biological rhythms as there are consequences to it. However, this is a very small sample size as the researcher is only looking at one flight, and so it’s possible that not all people would respond the same to the long flight. This means that the research is not very generalizable as it doesn’t cover a large amount of people or types of people and so cannot be generalised widely.
On the other hand there are ways in which to combat jet lag, some of which are using melatonin tablets to increase sleepiness around the time of exogenous zeitgebers to resynchronise quicker. Furthermore to just follow the exogenous factors as explained by Webb.
Also, Shift work is another explanation concerning the disruption of biological rhythms. In the recent world we are in, workers are expect to be able to work around the clock in some cases starting work at midnight, and changing shift patters within 2 weeks. Furthermore, shift patters are usually moved backwards which is similar to East bound flights which have the more severe symptoms attached. Example of consequences of disrupting the biological clock are; Chernobyl, at 2 in the morning somebody made a mistake which caused the disaster that spread across nations. Furthermore, alertness drops between 12am and 4am and this has cost $77 billion in accidents for people working between those hours. Therefore clearly suggesting there are consequences for disrupting the biological clock.
Czeisler supports that shift work causes problems with disrupting the biological rhythm. They found in a chemical plant in Utah that there was a high illness rate and sleep disorders which shows their internal clocks were out of sync with the exogenous. They convinced the plant to move to a phase delay system (like a west bound flight) and to adjust every 21 days rather than 7. When they returned in 9 months workers were much healthier and production numbers increased rapidly. Showing that resynchronisation timing is key and phase delay has less severe symptoms than phase advance.
However, there are methodological issues with all of the studies provided. This is because the majority are naturalistic studies, and although this gives us good ideas on peoples natural behaviour, we are unable to control confounding variables. Therefore it’s difficult to know what is affecting the person, for example in shift work we are ignoring people who adapt well to the shifts and show no side effects. Similarly we ignore people who adjust easily to jet lag. Thus this must be considered when looking at the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms.
Not sure if it would gain the marks needed, thank you very much! Criticism is welcome!
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Hi, could anyone please look over this essay for me? watch
- Thread Starter
- 02-06-2015 18:33
- Official Rep
- 04-06-2015 04:03
Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you’ve posted in the right place? Posting in the specific Study Help forum should help get responses.
I'm going to quote in She-Ra now so she can move your thread to the right place if it's needed.
Spoiler:Show(Original post by She-Ra)
- 04-06-2015 04:16
This should probably go into the study help section.
Also, Just wondering if there's a slightly better alternative for "furthermore" in a few places.