According to a new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, mice that were born in the winter exhibited disruptions in the biological clocks, as opposed to mice that were born and weaned in summer light. The study was a precursor then, to the idea that human beings who were born in the winter season had more tendencies towards developing schizophrenia, bipolar depression, and other mental health illnesses. They were also more prone to developing season affective disorders.
The researcher, Douglas McMahon, explained that the mods human beings have are regulated by biological clocks. If the phenomenon seen in mice were relevant to human experience, it would only mean that the person may not only be at risk for mental disorders, but also disruptions in terms of personality.
The study was conducted using mice which were genetically modified so that their brains would glow green when the biological clock region was active. Scientists paid attention to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or the SCN, which housed the biological clock and was positioned in the brain’s center. The glowing was matched with the behaviors of the subject mice. The research also found that summer-born mice reacted positively to season change. They ran for ten hours, and rested for fourteen, and this wasn’t affected when the seasons were switched. However, winter – born mice showed clear disruptions in habits and behaviors. It was either the mice would insist on their winter habits for ten hours, or switch to summer but remain almost two hours more active (which meant they couldn’t rest well).
The study considers winter birth as a risk for the development of mental health issues, but researchers are still considering other factors such as seasonal illnesses, flu or play, which could all affect a person’s bio-clock.