, Volume 100, Issue 4, pp 291–298 | Cite as

Revisiting chronodisruption: when the physiological nexus between internal and external times splits in humans

  • Thomas C. Erren
  • Russel J. Reiter
Concepts & Synthesis


In this Concepts & Synthesis paper, we expand the definition of chronodisruption in humans by proposing that it can be operationalized as the split nexus of internal and external times. With this premise, we suggest how chronotype may be used as a temporal marker (chronomarker) of exposure to chronodisruption in studies of cancer, and beyond, offer cancer risk predictions for observational research on the basis of a chronotype-related hypothesis and corollary, and point to first empirical data in humans. In an a priori way, we examine possible outcomes and perspectives for preventive measures following from our rationale and the suggested chronobiology-driven studies and close with overall advances of chronodisruption research.


Chronodisruption Internal time External time Chronotype Health Disease Cancer Shift work 



TCE and RJR conceived and developed this Concepts & Synthesis paper together and approve of the final manuscript. We thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute and Policlinic for Occupational Medicine, Environmental Medicine, and Prevention ResearchUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Cellular and Structural BiologyUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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