Biological Clock Disruption In Humans May Lead To Cancer, Study Finds

Circadian rhythms
Amy Goodrich
August 3, 2016

Our body is designed to sleep at night and work during the day. A new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) biologists shows that working night shifts or disrupting the body’s internal clock may lead to cancer growth.

Until now, nobody had a clue why disrupting the biological clock, which drives circadian rhythms, has such an impact on human health. MIT scientists believe they can offer an explanation. They think they have figured out the mystery of the heightened cancer risk.

Circadian rhythms function as tumor suppressors

Circadian rhythms are found in most living organisms. They follow a 24-hour cycle, and influence sleep-wake cycles, mood, alertness, hormone release, body temperature and other vital functions. Abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with sleeping disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder. And now cancer can be added to the list.

In mice, the team found that two genes, Bmal1 and Per2, known to control the circadian rhythms of a cell, also suppress tumor growth. According to Thales Papagiannakopoulos, a former postdoc at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the lead author of the study, disruption of these genes, either through gene deletion or disruption of the normal light/dark cycle, allows tumors to become more aggressive.

How working night shifts may increase cancer risk

Our body and brain are hardwired to relax and unwind after dark and spring back into action in the morning. The circadian clock is located in the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN can be seen as a local communication center; it receives information about light levels from the retina and passes this information on to the cells.

The information the cell receives will either activate or deactivate a set of genes (including Bmal1 and Per2) known to control circadian activities. Furthermore, Bmal1 and Per2 regulate a cancer-promoting protein known as the c-myc. When their function is interrupted, c-myc is given free rein to accumulate and spin out of control.

“Cells need the light cue, which is like a reset button for the clock. When you lose that cue, you lose the normal rhythms in every cell in your body,” said Papagiannakopoulos.

For the study, they exposed mice, predisposed to develop a particular type of lung cancer, to either a regular day/night or a jet lag type of schedule. The latter mimics the biological clock disruption of people working night shifts. The scientists found that under jet lag conditions, tumors grew faster and more aggressively.

“If you disrupt these genes in every cell of the body, the light cues that you normally receive do not apply,” Papagiannakopoulos said. “It’s a way of taking a molecular hammer and just breaking this clock.”

As reported by the American Psychological Association, no amount of extra sleep in the world can compensate for a messed-up circadian rhythm.

Joseph Takahashi, chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, noted that although the results are very clear and definitive, further research is needed to confirm the results.

Therefore, Papagiannakopoulos is now investigating whether circadian disruptions also affect other cancer types, and whether or not a broken clock can be exploited as a potential drug target or cancer prevention strategy.

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Cancer On Call: New Study Links Cells Phones To Cancer In Rats

Source: RT America
July 5, 2016

A new study has found that cell phone exposure increases incidences of brain cancer and other tumors in rats. Should you take precautions when it comes to using your mobile device? RT correspondent Alex Mihailovich tells RT America’s Simone Del Rosario that there are a few easy ways to lessen exposure to radio waves from your cell phone.

Radiating Corruption: The Frightening Science and Politics of Cell Phone Safety

Radiating Corruption: The Frightening Science and Politics of Cell Phone Safety
Gary Null Ph.D
January 21, 2016

Cell phones are known to cause a myriad of health problems.  So why hasn’t anyone done anything about it?

In an article published in the New York Times last week entitled “At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk”, author Danny Hakim discusses the controversy surrounding the potential health risks of using cell phones. Hakim writes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines recommending “caution in cell phone use“, due to the potentially harmful effects of radiation emitted by the wireless devices on human health. Included in the guidelines was information about reducing exposure among children. Just a few weeks after the CDC’s publication, and amid rising concerns about cell phone safety, the CDC rescinded the advisory completely.

Today, the CDC website takes an ambiguous stance on the issue, stating:

Can using a cell phone cause cancer?

There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know if using cell phones causes health effects. (1)

Hakim notes several agencies and individuals that have drawn stronger conclusions on the potential risks of such radiation. Among them is the International Agency for Research of Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, which listed the radio frequencies emitted by cell phones as a “possible carcinogen” in 2011.(2) Hakim identifies several countries’ health authorities, including, Finland, the United Kingdom and Israel issuing public warnings about the potential hazards of non-ionizing radiation from cell phones.

As one of the foremost organizations tasked with ensuring the health and safety of Americans, it is troubling that the CDC has failed to warn us of the potential dangers of these devices. We find that even a cursory review of the scientific literature reveals a significant body of research that points to the harmful effects of cell phone radiation. Here is some of the most compelling evidence:

Health Issues in Children

1. According to research, radiation from cell phones is more easily absorbed by children than adults.

Wiart J, Hadjem A, Wong MF, Bloch I. 2008. Analysis of RF exposure in the head tissues of children and adults. Phys Med Biol 53(13): 3681-95.

Wiedemann PM, Schutz H, Clauberg M. 2008. Influence of information about specific absorption rate (SAR) upon customers’ purchase decisions and safety evaluation of mobile phones. Bioelectromagnetics 29(2): 133-44.

Wang J, Fujiwara O. 2003. Comparison and Evaluation of Electromagnetic Absorption Characteristics in Realistic Human Head Models of Adult and Children for 900-MHz Mobile Telephones IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 51(3): 966-70.

Gandhi OP, Lazzi G, Furse CM. 1996. Electromagnetic absorption in the human head and neck for mobile telephones at 835 and 1900 MHz. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 44(10): 1884-97

2. A Danish study surveying more than 13,000 children found an 80% increase the likelihood of behavioral problems among children who use cell phones and whose mothers used cell phones during pregnancy.

Divan HA, Kheifets L, Obel C, Olsen J. 2008. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use and behavioral problems in children. Epidemiology 19(4): 523-9.


1. Research indicates that long-term cell phone users run a significantly elevated risk of developing glioma, a brain tumor that is often cancerous. The research discovers the tumors usually appearing on the side of the head favored during cell phone conversations.

Lahkola A, Auvinen A, Raitanen J, Schoemaker MJ, Christensen HC, Feychting M, et al. 2007. Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries. Int J Cancer 120(8): 1769-75

Hours M, Bernard M, Montestrucq L, Arslan M, Bergeret A, Deltour I, et al. 2007. [Cell Phones and Risk of brain and acoustic nerve tumours: the French INTERPHONE case

-control study]. Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique 55(5): 321-32.

2. Long-term exposure to cell phone radiation is linked with a 60% higher risk of developing a condition known as acoustic neuroma, a benign brain tumor.

Hardell L, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K. 2009. Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wireless phones and tumor diseases. Pathophysiology: in press

Kundi M. 2009. The Controversy about a Possible Relationship between Mobile Phone Use and Cancer. Environ Health Perspec 117(3): 316-24

3. Heavy cell phone use increases the risk of benign salivary gland tumors by 60%.

Sadetzki S, Chetrit A, Jarus-Hakak A, Cardis E, Deutch Y, Duvdevani S, et al. 2008. Cellular phone use and risk of benign and malignant parotid gland tumors –a nationwide case-control study. Am J Epidemiol 167(4): 457-67

4. Radiation from cell phones produces reactive oxygen species, which may contribute to DNA damage resulting in inflammatory conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Phillips JL, Singh NP, Lai H. 2009. Electromagnetic fields and DNA damage.Pathophysiology 16(2-3): 79-88.

Boutros T, Chevet E, Metrakos P. 2008. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/MAP kinase phosphatase regulation: roles in cell growth, death, and cancer. Pharmacol Rev 60(3): 261-310.

5. Brain cancer risk tripled among individuals who used cell phones for more than 15 hours monthly.

Hardell, L., and M. Carlberg. “Re: Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumours in the CERENAT Case-control Study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 72, no. 1 (2014): 79.

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