Psychology biological rhythms essay - saintsoldier …

Hi allMy A2 students have written some fairly poor responses to the following homework essay title: Describe and evaluate research on circadian rhythms, with reference to endogenous pacemakers and exogenous zeitgebers.So I have spent the afternoon writing my first A2 Psych Essay! (Biologist by specialism and first year of teaching A2 with no psych specialist in our school). Before I unlease this on the students I would appreciate some feedback as to the quality of this essay. Where does it stand with AO1 and AO2? I have tried to mirror their answers which concentrated on Siffre, Aschoff & Weaver & Campell & Murphy as research. I know the evaluation only refers to Methodology but again this mirrors their evaluations which were absent of any disscussion of approaches.I've been a typcial student and not included a conclusion. Have always found these difficult to write without it being a lame summing up. So if someone could offer some tips on writing a good conclusion that would be fabUUUUUlous!!Any comments greatly received, ideas of marking bands would be even better (you shan't hurt my feelings - be honest) and you'll even get a mention in my CPD folder (hehe). Many thanks KatherineSo here you go.....

Sleep and Biological Rhythms Essay Example | Topics …

Psychology biological rhythms essay - …

Biological rhythms Essay | Medicine and Health Articles

Gozal and Pope looked at the cases of 1500 primary school children. Of those who reported heavy snoring 13% were in the bottom 25% in terms of attainment and behaviour compared to only 5% in the top 25%. They believe that disordered breathing during this period of crucial brain development, caused by OSA, can result in ACHD, increased aggression, allergies and reduced academic performance.

In a similar study Gozal also reported twice as many cases of ACHD in heavy snoring six year olds. Treatment of the snoring reduced ACHD or in some cases seemed to have removed it altogether.

Is a neurological disorder of the sleep-wake cycle which results in excessive sleepiness and often a loss of muscle tone resulting in cataplexy. About 1 in 2,000 people suffer from the disorder and worldwide it is estimated that there are 3 million sufferers.


Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is usually the first symptom to present itself. Initially patients try very hard to stay awake but find that if they do this then they are faced with involuntary attacks of sleep that can strike at any time. Periods of micro-sleep resulting in brief naps lasting less than 30 seconds are also common. Very often the patient themselves are unaware of these though observers find them disconcerting.

EDS can cause knock on effects with memory loss, focusing of eyes and tiredness. Often friends initially find these first symptoms signs of rudeness, laziness or lack of interest.

Cataplexy (muscle paralysis) is the other major symptom, although 25% of narcoleptics never seem to experience this. Until recently it had been argued that cataplexy was an essential symptom of the disorder but recently it was decided that the disorder could be diagnosed even in those that never suffer from it.

The paralysis may only affect the muscles of the face but in more severe cases can result in loss of all muscle tone causing the patient to collapse on the floor. Although the paralysis usually lasts a matter of minutes, repeated attacks can result in the patient being immobilized for up to half an hour, particularly if the trigger, such as excitement persists.

Very often cataplexy doesn’t develop or many years following the initial first signs of narcolepsy (usually EDS) which makes an early diagnosis of the disorder unlikely. It is usual for narcoleptics not to be diagnosed until 12 to 15 years following the first symptoms!

Other symptoms
Although the patient may sleep for many hours a day, night time sleep is constantly interrupted by waking, increased heart rate, periods of alertness and hot flushes. The day time attacks of cataplexy are often accompanied by vivid hallucinations which seem to be due to REM sleep encroaching on wakefulness. The patient is still fully conscious and aware of what is going on around them so such hallucinations can be frightening and difficult to distinguish from reality. Similar to this are the very vivid hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations that we often experience on falling asleep and just prior to waking up respectively.

Automatic behaviours are also experienced. The patient behaves as if on autopilot, carrying out every day behaviours, often unaware, and often getting them wrong, for example pouring milk into the teapot.

Early REM: as we’ve already seen, our first bout of REM sleep usually occurs after 60 or 70 minutes of NREM or slow wave sleep, before reoccurring every 90 minutes or so (the ultradian rhythm). Narcoleptics often nod off straight into REM sleep at the start of the night.

Age of onset
First signs of the disorder (EDS) usually occur between 15 and 30 years of age, but can be as young as five. As already mentioned, it may take many years for the full symptoms to appear and for a correct diagnosis to be made.

What causes narcolepsy?
This will form the bulk of an answer/essay on this sleep disorder. In the past few years there has been a wealth of new information suggesting that narcolepsy is in fact an autoimmune disorder. As yet little if any of this research has reached the A-level texts. I shall break this section into two parts. Firstly discussing earlier research which gave clues to the genetic and neurochemical cause of the disorder and secondly looking at very up to date research which builds on the simpler, earlier theory.

Early work
Narcolepsy is NOT a psychological disorder but a neurological condition resulting in a fault in the mechanisms controlling the normal, circadian, sleep-wake cycle resulting in REM sleep occurring at inappropriate times.

Biological Rhythms Essay Question Example - Get …

changing job or moving house, and I told you about the Greenberg et al (1972) study in which men showed footage of a circumcision being carried out reported less anxiety each day when it was shown again. However, if deprived of REM sleep they were just as anxious on subsequent screenings.

Sleep deprivation studies
These are interesting in their own right, but from a practical point of view can be used:

· As evidence for the restoration theory of sleep
· In an essay on the methods used in the study of sleep
· As an example of disruption of biological rhythms

Total sleep deprivation

These studies tend to be carried out on student participants at various universities, for example Loughborough and Edinburgh in the UK. There are also the two infamous cases of sleep deprivation for the purposes of charity and notoriety in the Guinness book of records.

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A human example would be SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), more on this later; and in the animal world migration, mating patterns and hibernation of some species.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (Infradian or circadian?)
Although it is apparently normal for most people to feel more cheerful in the summer months than in winter, a small number of people suffer an extreme form of this that appears to be related to the lack of bright light in the winter months.

As hopefully you’ll remember from the stuff we did on the physiology of sleep, light levels, as detected by receptors in the eye, influence levels of melatonin and serotonin. Additionally as you will hopefully recall from your work on depression, serotonin is implicated in mood. See how eventually all these strands knit together! At night low light levels stimulate the production of melatonin, this is what triggers sleepiness. Therefore you would expect the lower light levels of the winter months to have a similar affect.

In areas where light levels are exceptionally low for prolonged periods, such as the Polar regions, you would expect the effects to be particularly noticeable. Terman (1988) found that SAD was five times more common in New Hampshire, a northern state of the USA, than in Florida, obviously a sunnier clime.

Research evidence
The symptoms of SAD can be reduced in polar regions by sitting patients in front of very bright artificial lights for at least one hour per day. This lowers the levels of melatonin in the bloodstream which in turn reduces the feelings of depression. The precise mechanism for this is still unclear. It could be that melatonin (released from the pineal gland) has a direct affect on mood or it could have its influence indirectly through serotonin. Drugs used to treat depression such as Prozac and other MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), appear to work by altering serotonin levels. Terman et al (1998) researched 124 participants with SAD. 85 were given 30 minute exposure to bright light, some in the morning, and some in the evening. Another 39 were exposed to negative ions (a placebo group).

60% of the am bright light group showed significant improvement compared to only 30% of those getting light in the evening. Only 5%of the placebo group showed improvement.

The researchers conclude that bright light administered in this way may be acting as a zeitgeber and resetting the body clock in the morning.

Research into SAD has led to effective treatments suggesting that the theory has some validity. However, there does also appear to be a genetic component.

Note: SAD varies over a yearly cycle so can be viewed as an infradian (or circannual) cycle. However, it appears to disrupt the sleep/wake cycle so can also be viewed as circadian. SAD can be discussed in an essay on disruption of biological rhythms.

Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects (Disruption of biological rhythms essay)

Discuss research into ultradian rhythms (8+16 marks) – …

A summary of Quick Review in psychology biological rhythms essay 's States of Consciousness. 1 hour 30 minutes

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