Given the current epidemic of metabolic diseases a better understanding of the brain mechanisms responsible for this de-arrangement of our energy metabolism is of utmost importance in order to improve prevention and therapeutic strategies
The research of the Kalsbeek research group is focused on those hypothalamic systems that control metabolism, circulation and the immune system. To unravel the mechanisms of hypothalamic integration we study the hypothalamic biological clock and how it enforces its molecular rhythms onto daily physiology and behaviour.
The hypothalamus rules those things in life that really matter, such as sex and food, and love and aggression. This ‘primitive’ area at the base of the brain controls all aspects of our lives that are of the utmost importance, but at the same time mostly go unnoticed. Together the various hypothalamic nuclei control how we respond to stress, injury and infection. They determine our appetites for food and water, and subsequently regulate how we use the energy that we have taken in. The hypothalamus ensures a stable blood pressure, blood volume, electrolyte balance and body temperature. Last but not least, the hypothalamus imposes daily rhythms, such as the sleep/wake rhythm, onto our bodies. In other words, the hypothalamus controls the rhythm of our life. These things might seem mundane compared to the intangible mysteries of cognition, but they are of immediate and profound importance for our health and well-being.
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