Night digital screen time and Extinct Good Night Sleep



If I tell you (and I did convey in past) that artificial light is killing us like slow poison, many of you, will call be primitive or fanatic 😀.

Well, here is the report from trusted sources from science.

Craze for smart phones, late night working, e-readers etc – read the consequences here. Wake up before it is too late. (Y)

Oh yes, if you are giving smart phones to kids for game playing! STOP it NOW! At least stop now!


Use of a light-emitting electronic book (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness and the circadian clock, which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


E-Readers Foil Good Night’s Sleep

Light-emitting electronic devices keep readers awake longer than old-fashioned print


Use of a light-emitting electronic book (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness and the circadian clock, which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. These findings of the study that compared the biological effects of reading an LE-eBook to a printed book are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on December 22, 2014.

“We found the body’s natural circadian rhythms were interrupted by the short-wavelength enriched light, otherwise known as blue light, from these electronic devices,” said Anne-Marie Chang, corresponding author and associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “Participants reading an LE-eBook took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing of their circadian clock and reduced next-morning alertness than when reading a printed book.”

Previous research has shown that blue light suppresses melatonin, impacts the circadian clock and increases alertness, but little was known about the effects of this popular technology on sleep. The use of light-emitting devices immediately before bedtime is a concern because of the extremely powerful effect that light has on the body’s natural sleep/wake pattern and how that may play a role in perpetuating sleep deficiency.


Air Pollution and First 12 years of life



The breathing rate over the first 12 years of life is about double that of adult breathing rates. [1]

So our kids can take in double the amount of inhaled pollutants as an adult under the same situation of exposure.

When the breathing rate is taken into account relative to lung surface area, the amount of airborne contaminants reaching the lung surface is likely to be about 3-4 times higher in 3-month old children than in adults.[2]

This makes children more vulnerable to the effects of spray drift and household insecticides. (काला Hit! : Oil Paints, Perfumes, Deodorants! ) On top of it, air pollution. On top of it, AC classrooms and bedrooms !

Side note: Is this the reason why we have निष्क्रमण संस्कार ? No exposure to outer world for first 4 months of life. So to avoid possible pollutants. On निष्क्रमण संस्कार day, introduce infant to mother nature and then later to other relatives. Till then, mother and child remain in controlled environment at new mother’s maternal home.


[1] Differences Between Children and Adults: Implications for Risk Assessment at California EPA


The California legislature enacted a law requiring the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to evaluate whether our risk assessment methodologies are adequately protective of infants and children. In addition both OEHHA and the California Air Resources Board must examine whether the Ambient Air Quality Standards set for criteria air pollutants and the health values developed for air toxics are adequately protective of infants and children. We have initiated a program to look at potential differences in response to toxicants between children and adults. We are evaluating this issue from the perspective of exposure differences as well as toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic differences between children and adults. Data on specific chemicals are rather limited. As a result, we will be pooling information to determine whether there are generic differences between children and adults that may be applicable to risk assessment in general or to risk assessment of specific classes of compounds. This paper discusses the rationale for approaching the issue of determining whether our risk assessment methods are adequate for infants and children and includes a discussion of some of the available information on both qualitative and quantitative differences in response to toxicants between children and adults or immature and mature laboratory animals. We provide examples of differences between children and adults in absorption, metabolism, and excretion of toxicants as well as qualitative differences in toxic response.

[2] Summary of Principles for Evaluating Health Risks in Children Associated with Exposure to Chemicals

[pdf] http://www.who.int/ceh/health_risk_children.pdf

The Cobra Effect : Is clean energy yet another scientific joomla?


The Cobra Effect : Is clean energy yet another scientific joomla? (Like Genome project?)

Case of Hydroelectric power

Poison in the Arctic and the human cost of clean energy

Poison in Arctic and human cost of ‘clean’ energy

Cobra Effect
Cobra Effect

Colonial New Delhi had a cobra infestation. To get rid of it, the government offered bounties for dead cobras, inadvertently turning cobra breeding into a thriving business. When the government got wise and cancelled the program, thousands of then worthless cobras were released into the city streets.

The cobra effect occurs when an attempted solution to a problem actually makes the problem worse.

Methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin, is especially high in Arctic marine life but until recently, scientists haven’t been able to explain why. Now, research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that high levels of methylmercury in Arctic life are a byproduct of global warming and the melting of sea-ice in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

“We found more methylmercury in the water than our modeling could explain,” said Schartup. “All of the methylmercury from the rivers feeding into Lake Melville and from the sediment at the bottom of the lake couldn’t account for the levels in the water. There was something else going on here.”

When fresh and salt water meet– in estuaries or when sea-ice melts in the ocean– salinity increases as water deepens. This stratification allows fluffy organic matter that typically sinks to the bottom to reach a neutral buoyancy — meaning it can’t float up or down in the water column. This layer, called marine snow, collects other small settling debris and concentrates it into a feeding zone for marine plankton. The bacteria stuck in this zone are performing a complex chemical process that turns naturally occurring mercury into deadly and readily accumulated methylmercury.

“Clean energy benefits the entire world but the costs of hydroelectric power are often assumed entirely by the Aboriginal communities who live next to these developments,” said Sunderland. “Our research highlights some of the costs to the community with the goal of helping them plan and adapt to the changes that are about to occur.”

“Scientists have a responsibility to understand and explain how environmental systems will react before they are modified,” Schartup said. “Because once the damage is done, you can’t take it back.”

India so far has 47 major hydroelectric power stations. Can you imagine the havoc it may have created so far in local communities? Neurotoxic impact correlation? Data?

“Because once the damage is done, you can’t take it back.”

Only clean energy is energy where mother nature can help.

Gobar. Got it? Kamdhenu? Desi cow?

PS: Methylmercury is just a case study. Different region, same universal solution, different issue.

It is not that irrigation ponds using dammed rivers were never built. But designs were highly local. Impact was local. And never for energy!


Poison in Arctic and human cost of ‘clean’ energy

Poison in Arctic and human cost of ‘clean’ energy

The amount of methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin, is especially high in Arctic marine life but until recently, scientists haven’t been able to explain why. Now, research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that high levels of methylmercury in Arctic life are a byproduct of global warming and the melting of sea-ice in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

To mitigate global warming, many governments are turning to hydroelectric power. But, the research also suggests that methylmercury concentrations from flooding for hydroelectric development will be far greater than those expected from climate change.

The research, published in PNAS, began as a review of the environmental impact assessment for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador, Canada. In 2017, the dam will flood a large region upstream from an estuarine fjord called Lake Melville.

The communities along the shores of Lake Melville are predominantly Indigenous and rely on the lake as a primary source of food. One of these communities — and two-thirds of Lake Melville — is part of Nunatsiavut, the first autonomous region in Canada governed by Inuit. When the impact report predicted no adverse downstream effects on Lake Melville, the Nunatsiavut Government reached out to Elsie Sunderland, associate professor of environmental engineering and environmental health, for help.

Four years later, that initial review has morphed into a multi-pronged investigation that has led to important scientific discoveries about how methylmercury accumulates in the ecosystem and how it will impact communities who rely on the ecosystem for food and resources.

Cow-dung and urine: Potential Mercury Detox


Last week, I share a link[0] that explained how mercury causes homo-sexuality, I thought to do some more research to find solutions as our environment is now full heavy metals due to industrialized civilization.

From cosmetics to processed food to vaccine, everything is loaded with some form of mercury.

What should be our strategy to combat heavy metal infusion in our life?

First thing that came to my mind was : Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, mercury is used as medicine. So I thought to dig down and find out how exactly mercury is used?

Later, I also investigated how modern medicine treats mercury poisoning.

पारद – mercury

From रस जल निधि

Let begin by presenting pages explaining evil effects of mercury from Rasa Jala Nidhi book as is.

I cannot write entire treatise here but I will try to share highlights of importance of mercury in Ancient Rasayana Shashtra. In future, I will try to write more notes on ancient chemistry.

From Rasa Jal Nidhi
From Rasa Jal Nidhi
From Rasa Jal Nidhi
From Rasa Jal Nidhi
  • Parada when itself killed (reduced to ashes) , becomes a killer of all diseases and death!
  • It kills diseases when itself in a state of swoon (transformed by sulfur).
  • Mercury is compared to
    • Brahma in purification state
    • Vishnu in swoon state (with sulfur)
    • Rudra in dead state
    • Maheshwara in solidificaiton state
  • There are five types of mercury found in soil, based on type of the soil [2]
    • Rasa – Red, free from all harms, destroyer of dieseases – found in Swarga (Northen hemisphere?)
    • Resendra – free from defects , black and coarse and very subtle. Naga people attained lack of old age with its help
    • Suta – yellow and coarse – full of poisons – requires 18 purification steps before using it.
    • Parad – White / Silver – full of poisons – 18 purification steps requires
    • Mishraka – peocock complexion – 18 purification steps needed before use

There are several methods to purify mercury. One of them caught my eyes is where cow urine is needed!

Remember – When it (mercury) is killed, it can kill any diseases. The correct form of mercury prescribed is bhashma!

What is general procedure to prepare Bhashma?

The name bhasma is generally applied to all metallic and nonmetallic substances that are subjected to the process of incineration and reduction to ash. Here it is applied to the metals, minerals, and animal products that are, by special processes, calcinated in closed crucibles in pits with cow dung cakes.

Please note – Bhashma preparation is incomplete without cow dung cakes!

In Ayurveda, purification is called Sodhana. Shodhana is the process through which the external and internal impurities of metals and minerals are removed. Chemical purification is different from medicinal purification. In chemical purification it is only elimination of foreign matters, whereas in medicinal purification the objects are involved in the

1. Elimination of harmful matter from the drug

2. Modification of undesirable physical properties of the drug

3. Conversion of some of the characteristics of the drug to different stages

4. Enhancement of the therapeutic action

Sodhana requires Gau mutra!

After Sodhana, Marana is performed. Here, Cow-ghee is used for many metals. I still need to confirm for mercury.

For Marana, cow-dung is must! A pit is dug in an open space and half the pit is filled with dried cow dung cakes. The cru cibles are placed in the half-filled pit and are covered with cow dung cakes up to the brim of the pit. Fire is then ignited on all four sides and in the middle of the pit. When the burning is over, the contents are allowed to cool completely on their own. Marana differs with the nature of the substance to be calcinated.

Note down – Dry Cow dung cakes. Ashes. Carbon.

In short, without cow urine and dung, purification of mercury is not possible.

From Rasa Jala Nidhi by Bhudeb Mukerjee
From Rasa Jala Nidhi by Bhudeb Mukerjee

Rasa Jala Nidhi is the reference book.

Mercury chelation by modern science

Outside the body, several well-known compounds demonstrate strong affinity for mercury, including activated carbon charcoal, sulfur, and selenium.

  • carbon – cow dung ash
  • Sulfur – is must as per Ayurveda for purification of mercury

Important sulfhy-dryl compounds in various bodily processes involving antioxidant protection and DNA transcription include the sulfur-containing amino acids cystine, cysteine, methionine, and taurine. You get them naturally in food when the food is grown using cow manure and urine!

When you use cow dung ash for brushing the teeth, some portion is absorbed and digested. Unknowingly, it helps in mercury chelation!

Cow urine is full of sulfur oxides! Helps in catching mercury! See Papers section [3]

Even environmental mercury can be handled by cow dung and urine! See papers section [3][4][5][6]

In our chaotic times, only feasible and affordable detox solution we have is help from Gau prasad (urine, dung, ghee)

Gau Seva - Prabhu Seva
Gau Seva – Prabhu Seva

Scientific papers

[0] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101203-homosexual-birds-mercury-science/

[1] Efficacy of cow urine distillate in combating mercury induced toxicity in commercial broilers

Present study was designed to investigate the beneficial and curative effect of cow urine distillate in modulating toxic effect of mercury in chickens. Twenty four, day old, broiler chicks were procured and reared in battery brooders for a week and then divided into four groups of six chicks each. Group I birds were fed with standard feed served as control. Group II birds were administered with cow urine distillate @ 1 ml/bird/day. Group III birds received mercuric chloride @ 50 ppm mixed with feed whereas, group IV birds received mercuric chloride @ 50 ppm in feed along with cow urine distillate @ 1 ml/bird/day. The birds given mercuric chloride (group III) showed significant decrease in the level of haemoglobin, packed cell volume, total erythrocyte count and erythrocytic indices. The values of serum enzymes, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and glucose were significantly elevated whereas the level of serum proteins declined. Group IV birds receiving cow urine distillate along with mercuric chloride did not show any toxic effects of the mercuric chloride and the haematological and biochemical parameters remained near normal range. The beneficial effect of cow urine distillate in combating toxic effects of mercuric chloride was evident as there was neither decrease in erythrocytic indices nor elevation of serum enzymes, glucose, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine in group IV birds.


[2] Remediation Studies Of Heavy Metal Ions Cd, Pb And Hg From Its Solutions By Precipitating Out With Natural Biological Fluid Cows (Bosindicus) Urine And Subsequent Analysis Of Filtrate By ICP-AES And GC-MS Analysis.

Cow urine against mercury
Cow urine against mercury


[3] Mercury chemisorption by sulfur adsorbed in porous materials

The sorption of mercury vapor by adsorbed sulfur in the zeolites CaA (= 5A) and NaX (=13X) and two types of active carbon has been measured at a temperature of 50°C. With increasing degree of micropore filling by sulfur the fraction of sulfur accessible to mercury atoms decreased for CaA and NaX. The sulfur chemisorbed on carbon (only less than 0.05 g sulfur per g) is not very active for mercury chemisorption. The mercury uptake shows a sharp maximum as a function of the amount of sorbed sulfur in the case of CaA, NaX and activated sugar charcoal. The oxidation rate of H2S with oxygen on NaX and activated sugar charcoal correlates with the capacity for mercury chemisorption, both as a function of the amount of sorbed sulfur. From the amount of sorbed mercury an estimate of the specific sulfur surface area may be given. When sulfur impregnated CaA, NaX or activated sugar charcoal are used as adsorbents for mercury traces out of gas streams, the mercury sorption capacity may be maximized by using materials with a micropore volume approximately half filled with sulfur.


[4] Bioremediation of Pharmaceuticals, Pesticides, and Petrochemicals with Gomeya/Cow Dung

Use and misuse of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and petrochemicals by man is causing havoc with nature, as they persist as such or as their toxic metabolites. These pollutants bioaccumulate in environment, and they ultimately reach man through various means. They are hazardous because of potential toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, and genotoxicity. To rejuvenate nature, remediation methods currently available are usually expensive and might convert one toxic pollutant to another. Bioremediation methods use naturally occurring microorganisms to detoxify man-made pollutants so that they change pollutants to innocuous products that make soil fertile in the process. Taking cue from Ayurveda, Gomeya/cow dung is used as an excellent bioremediation method. Thus, utilizing freely available cow dung as slurry or after composting in rural areas, is a cheap and effective measure to bioremediate the harmful pollutants. Yet, more research in this direction is warranted to bioremediate nonbiodegradable, potentially toxic pollutants.


[5] Current status of cow dung as a bioresource for sustainable development

Cow dung, an excreta of bovine animal, is a cheap and easily available bioresource on our planet. Many traditional uses of cow dung such as burning as fuel, mosquito repellent and as cleansing agent are already known in India. Cow dung harbours a diverse group of microorganisms that may be beneficial to humans due to their ability to produce a range of metabolites. Along with the production of novel chemicals, many cow dung microorganisms have shown natural ability to increase soil fertility through phosphate solubilisation. Nowadays, there is an increasing research interest in developing the applications of cow dung microorganisms for biofuel production and management of environmental pollutants. This review focuses on recent findings being made on cow dung that could be harnessed for usage in different areas such as medicine, agriculture and industry.



[6] Sequestering heavy metals from wastewater using cow dung

The presence of heavy metals (e.g., Zn, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cd, etc.) in aqueous solutions constitutes a major environmental problem. The present work represents a review of the recently published literature discussing the use of cow dung as adsorbent for the removal of metal ions from aqueous solution using batch experiments. The potential health and environmental hazards of metal ions in addition to the kinetic and isothermal models usually assessed to fit the biosorption experimental data were also reviewed. Conclusively, it was established that the use of cow dung is a promising adsorbent in the removal of heavy metals from waste waters and environment.



  • Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies edited by Lakshmi C. Mishra
  • Rasa Jala Nidhi by Bhudeb Mukerjee


Children, Air pollution and common sense

Children and Air pollution
Children and Air pollution

The breathing rate over the first 12 years of life is about double that of adult breathing rate. So good air or bad air, children consume more.

For your healthy lungs, thank pre-1991 (Before Manmohan era of mindless development) Indians who were not as mindless as we are. Imagine what we gift to millions of children by rampant urban air pollution.

Greatest gift we give to our children: Suffocating air. 🙁 Yes, I am also partner in crime, like you all. 🙁

Although this is not a solution, I suggest you to have Fresh-Air-Sundays with kids. Away from urban crowd, in the laps of the nature, for weekly fresh air quota. (Y)

Generation in jeopardy : How pesticides ruin our children

Go to any school. You will find more and more aggression, attention deficit, anti-social patterns. Sadly, teachers and parents accept this as new normal. 🙁

Can your 6 figure salary, all luxury provided to kid avoid this? And there is no magic wand that you can apply to development derailment of growing generation. Only right food, right emotions and your ample time can save them!

Time is running fast. Get back control over your food chain. Demand more and more organic food. Cook fresh food for children. No more processed food.

Before earning for family, I think it is now critical for any parents to find fresh, chemical-free food for kids. What is the use of our earning when we buy chemicals as food for our kids?

Generation in jeopardy
Generation in jeopardy
Generation in jeopardy
Generation in jeopardy

Learning disabilities, childhood cancer and asthma are on the rise in the United States. A new report out today points to pesticides – with over 1 billion pounds applied on farms and homes annually in the US– as a critical contributor to these health harms in children. In Los Angeles alone,nearly 2 million pounds of pesticides are applied annually.

This is situation of the land where we think rules are followed. Imagine the situation here where there is free-flow usage of chemicals. On top of it, chemicals used to process the food.

“We have waited much, much too long to make the health of our children a national priority,” said Martha Dina Argüello of Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles. “This report shines a light on a completely preventable tragedy – that a generation of children will not reach their full potential. This represents a truly staggering loss we can no longer ignore.”

Pesticides impact on children
Pesticides impact on children
Pesticides impact on children
Pesticides impact on children

“Pesticides have unique and profound impacts on the developing child, even in very small amounts. The growing body of research tells us that pesticides, in combination with other environmental and behavioral factors, are creating a looming epidemic of diseases and disorders,” states Argüello. “We must act now so we are not putting another generation of children in harm’s way.”

“What matters is that our children’s bodies have become garbage cans! Everyday, I cry because of those diseases simply caused by the environment. More people have died because of chemicals than during World War II. Those who don’t want to see any cause for concern in our studies will have to answer for their serious dishonesty.”

Read more: http://www.panna.org/publication/generation-in-jeopardy

Light, Sleep and Stress


One more study supporting several of my hypothesis. Why Surya Namaskar in open air during sunrise or before sun rise ? Why Homa?  Why Sandhya? Why meditation in low light and no artificial light? List goes on. All depends upon light. Monochromatic light vs polychromatic light. Natural light vs artificial light. Visible light and the invisible ones. I already wrote two notes on negative impact of LED.

Issue is, we have become so numb in our fast life that, we don’t sense the interplay of पञ्च-महाभूत ! Not even life-degenerative impact!

Light Spectrum
Light Spectrum
University Of Oxford Study

Lighting colour affects sleep and wakefulness

A research team from Oxford University have shown how different colours of light could affect our ability to sleep.

The team exposed mice to three different colours of light – violet, blue and green. Based on the existing data about the role of melanopsin in sleep, they expected that the blue light would induce sleep fastest as the wavelength of the blue light (470 nanometres – nm) was closest to the peak sensitivity of the pigment (around 480nm).

However, it was green light that produced rapid sleep onset – between 1 and 3 minutes. Blue and violet light delayed sleep – the onset of sleep taking between 16 and 19 minutes for blue and between 5 and 10 minutes for violet.

Dr Peirson said: ‘The results meant that mice exposed to blue light had less sleep than those exposed to violet and green light. We confirmed the effect by testing mice using green and blue light at a time when they would usually be less active.’

To investigate the role of melanopsin, the team performed the same test on mice lacking the pigment. For these mice, the colours had opposite effects – blue caused rapid sleep onset, while green and violet significantly delayed sleep, showing that melanopsin is necessary for the substantial wavelength-dependent effects of light on sleep.

The researchers also found that while exposure to all three colours of light increased the level of corticosterone stress hormone in ordinary mice, blue light caused a much higher rise. In mice without melanopsin, the response to blue light was greatly reduced. Blocking the effect of corticosterone reduced the sleep-delaying effect, suggesting that the production of this hormone in response to light actively inhibits sleep.

Dr Peirson said: ‘This study shows that there are different pathways from the eye to the brain – one directly regulating sleep and the other increasing arousal. Melanopsin has a more complex role than previously thought, affecting both pathways. This is the first time that it has been shown to regulate adrenal stress responses.




Artificial Light: Silent Killer

Light Pollution
Light Pollution
Light Pollution

It is gross delusion majority humans exhibit. Whatever is visible, is only considered as pollution. For example, air pollution – you notice only when there is black smog suffocating you. Noise pollution – you notice only when your sleep is hampered by the neighborhood DJ party. We hardly pay attention to silent pollution. Light pollution.

Our body is designed to remain sync with cycle of Sun and Moon. But we now hardly give any respect to bodily rhythms.

Necessity is mother of invention. Post-industrialization, mankind has disturbed human body’s circadian rhythms (A daily cycle of activity observed in many living organisms which depends on Sunrise and Sunset) severely by including post-sunset activities under artificial lights. There is 24×7 work culture now. Effects are inevitable. You see many among us with memory loss in young age. So it became necessity to invent memory supporting tools (From To Do list to modern smartphones)

Result? Slow but gradual degradation human mind’s strength like memory.

Imagine a time of last century when we started using artificial light. Amount of stress entire human race went through. I suspect, some of the historical endemic events were due to industrial leap events. Altering circadian rhythms by flood lights is one of them.

For modern urban resident, there is wealth arrogance. I pay my utility bills so I will keep them on, as long as I want!

Who is worse affected?

Our toddlers. Their rhythms. Their growth.

Artificial night lighting is expanding globally, but its ecological consequences remain little understood. Animals often use changes in day length as a cue to time seasonal behavior. Artificial night lighting may influence the perception of day length, and may thus affect both circadian and circadian rhythms.

Keep low light post sunset. For you, your kids and the birds in neighborhood. Respect natural bodily rhythms. Once in a month, spend a day or two in dark. No lights or very very low lights. Experience and embrace the darkness of the night.

1) Keep low light at home after sunset
2) Avoid artificial lights at work (I know this is difficult but critical 🙁 )
3) At least spend time in nature during sunrise and sunset
4) Make sure your kids sleep early (so that they avoid artificial lights for long)

5) If you really need light post sunset, keep it minimal. Best if you can keep desi ghee lamps or light of that intensity. ZERO light during sleep!



Have a look at few research papers related to light pollution.

Is artificial lighting making us sick? New evidence in mice

Environmental 24-hr Cycles Are Essential for Health

Along with eating right and exercising, people should consider adding another healthy habit to their list: turning out the lights. That’s according to a new study reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 14 showing many negative health consequences for mice kept under conditions of constant light for a period of months.

“Our study shows that the environmental light-dark cycle is important for health,” says Johanna Meijer of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “We showed that the absence of environmental rhythms leads to severe disruption of a wide variety of health parameters.”

Those parameters included pro-inflammatory activation of the immune system, muscle loss, and early signs of osteoporosis. The researchers say that the observed physiological changes were all indicative of “frailty” as is typically seen in people or animals as they age. But there was some more encouraging news, too.

“We used to think of light and darkness as harmless or neutral stimuli with respect to health,” Meijer says. “We now realize this is not the case based on accumulating studies from laboratories all over the world, all pointing in the same direction. Possibly this is not surprising as life evolved under the constant pressure of the light-dark cycle. We seem to be optimized to live under these cycles, and the other side of the coin is that we are now affected by a lack of such cycles.”


Light pollution alters the phenology of dawn and dusk singing in common European songbirds

Artificial night lighting is expanding globally, but its ecological consequences remain little understood. Animals often use changes in day length as a cue to time seasonal behaviour. Artificial night lighting may influence the perception of day length, and may thus affect both circadian and circannual rhythms. Over a 3.5 month period, from winter to breeding, we recorded daily singing activity of six common songbird species in 12 woodland sites, half of which were affected by street lighting. We previously reported on analyses suggesting that artificial night lighting affects the daily timing of singing in five species. The main aim of this study was to investigate whether the presence of artificial night lighting is also associated with the seasonal occurrence of dawn and dusk singing. We found that in four species dawn and dusk singing developed earlier in the year at sites exposed to light pollution. We also examined the effects of weather conditions and found that rain and low temperatures negatively affected the occurrence of dawn and dusk singing. Our results support the hypothesis that artificial night lighting alters natural seasonal rhythms, independently of other effects of urbanization. The fitness consequences of the observed changes in seasonal timing of behaviour remain unknown.






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