Time of Injury May Affect Healing, Study Finds

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sustain / səˈsteɪn / (v) – to experience or suffer from something

    She sustained a minor injury during the accident.

  2. stimulate / ˈstɪm yəˌleɪt / (v) – to cause something to be more active

    Light stimulates the eyes and the brain, making you less sleepy.

  3. laceration / ˌlæs əˈreɪ ʃən / (n) – a deep wound

    I got several lacerations on my legs because of the motorcycle accident.

  4. surmise / sərˈmaɪz / (v) – to guess

    The researcher surmised that the effect of the drug on the mice would be the same for humans.

  5. disrupt / dɪsˈrʌpt / (v) – to interrupt a natural process

    Wearing a rubber band around your wrist can disrupt your blood flow.


Read the text below.

A research team from Cambridge discovered that wounds sustained in the day heal faster than those sustained at night.

Results showed that wounds, particularly cuts and burns, sustained between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. heal in 17 days, while those sustained later heal in 28 days. The researchers studied mice, and later burn victims, and found that wounds experienced at night took 60% longer to heal.

Researchers believe that this could be due to one’s circadian rhythm or body clock. The body clock is controlled by a part of the brain triggered by light and darkness. Because of it, a person naturally feels sleepy when it is dark and alert when it is light.

The team found that genes in a type of skin cell are stimulated by one’s body clock and that more genes are active during one’s waking hours. When those genes are active, they can help close a wound after a burn or a laceration. One of the researchers also surmised that the quicker healing during the day could be an evolutionary advantage since injuries are more likely to happen in the morning when a person is more active.

Other researchers have also studied the relationship between body clock and medicine. Some studies claim that the disruption of the body clock can increase the risk of heart diseases or cancer. Another study claims that an irregular body clock disrupts the production of immune cells, which can lead to imbalanced immunity.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Should experts study the relationship of medicine and the body clock further? Discuss.
• After reading the article, do you think hospitals should schedule all surgeries in the day? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How can people minimize the risk of getting injured? Discuss.
• What practices do you think can help accelerate the healing of injuries?