Quirks & Quarks

How is melatonin regulated in people who are blind? Quirks Question

Dr. Parveen Bhatti answers this week's Quirks Question about how melatonin is regulated in blind individuals.
People who are completely blind still have a melatonin cycle, but it's desynchronized from the daily 24-hour light / dark cycle since they cannot perceive light. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

This week's Quirks Question comes to us from Reed Poynter in Langley, BC, who asks: 

"As a totally blind person with detached retinas, how is my melatonin level regulated? If, for me, the lights are always out, as it were, why am I not always sleeping? What research has been done in this area?"

To answer this question, we reached Dr. Parveen Bhatti, a Canadian native epidemiologist now working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. 

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