As the clocks go back this October, Horizon takes a moment to look at the 24-hour rhythms that govern life. We talk to scientists trying to alter the internal clocks of our cells to help fight obesity and diabetes, and others working out the best time for each patient to take medicines. We also learn how tobacco plants can change their body clocks in a last-ditch attempt to survive when they’re threatened by predators or food scarcity.
The anti-tumour properties of chemotherapy drugs could work twice as well if you take them at times when the body is most receptive, but that means different timetables for different people, according to researchers working to understand how to use the body’s daily rhythms to make medicine optimally effective and reduce unpleasant side effects.
Sleeping, eating and even going to the bathroom, our bodies are clearly affected by the time of day. But the cycle of the moon could also have impacts on our biological functions, according to Professor Kristin Teßmar-Raible, at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, Austria, who is leading LUNAR.CLOCK, a project funded by the EU's European Research Council exploring how the moon affects marine organisms.
Keeping calorie-burning brown fat cells running throughout the day rather than allowing them to switch on and off, possibly via tablets or injections, could help our bodies cope better with a modern day abundance of food, according to researchers who are investigating the link between the body clock and obesity.
Plants can override their own body clocks in times of stress, hijacking their programmed activities in a last-ditch attempt to survive, according to researchers who believe their work could change the way we think about internal timing.
To mark the first European conference on connected and automated driving, Horizon magazine investigates some of the hottest EU research topics in the field, from whether man or machine makes the decision in critical situations, to the potential for cyber criminals to create chaos on the roads, as well as revisiting some of our favourite articles about the future of transport.
As our reliance on the internet continues to expand into every area of our lives, the threat from cyber attacks and hacking are never far from the headlines. This month, Horizon looks at how Europe can keep its digital borders intact. We find out how artificial intelligence is learning on the job to better detect security breaches and how the unique way that you interact with your phone or computer could be used to verify your digital identity. Plus, we find out what the EU is doing to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids from an increased threat of attack.
Robots and plants are being intricately linked into a new type of living technology that its creators believe could be used to grow a house.
Robots steer plants to grow in pre-programmed forms.
Insulin resistance links the two diseases.
Railway networks, power stations and telephone grids are constantly being targeted, says Georg Peter.