July 31, 2006 — Striking the refrigerator in the wee hours? Your body clock — which affects designs of eating and resting — may play a role.

A new consider shows that mice learned to expect nourishment at odd hours after snacking when they would normally be resting.

And the mice had a hard time breaking the habit.

“Some place in the body, they clearly recalled this time of day,” says Masashi Yanagisawa, MD, PhD, in a news release from the College of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Certain body-clock genes within the mice’s brains may be part of the reason, the researchers note.

Their ponder is due to seem in Procedures of the National Foundation of Sciences’ Aug. 8 early online edition.

Chow Time

Yanagisawa and colleagues examined two groups of mice.

One group got a confined sum of nourishment every four hours. The other group got unlimited food around the clock.

All of the mice lived on a 12-hour light-dark cycle. That is, they spent 12 hours in obscurity, taken after by 12 hours of light, day after day.

Mice normally eat within the dim; they’re more comfortable running around under cover of haziness.

But the restricted-food group got a few of their chow at an abnormal time, within the middle of the light cycle.

That’s like eating within the middle of the night for individuals, the researchers note.

Tinkering With the Body Clock

The mice within the restricted-food gather came to anticipate their curiously coordinated nibble, and it was hard to alter their ways.

Those mice became more dynamic amid the two hours some time recently their early afternoon snack. Certain body-clock genes in their brains too exchanged on in adjust with the feeding schedule, the ponder appears.

The design was intense to stop. After two days without any nourishment at all, the body-clock qualities still turned on in sync with the bizarre bolstering schedule.

In case the findings apply to people, eating late at night might prepare body-clock genes to anticipate food at those times.

But since the study was on mice, that’s not certain yet.