Chronomedicine: An old concept's fledging? A selective literature search

Thomas C. Erren, Melissa S. Koch, J. Valérie Gross, Susanne Kämmerer-Cruchon, Alexander Fuchs, Andreas Pinger, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chronomedicine may be conceptualized as dealing with the prevention, causation, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in humans with a particular focus on the role "time" [Greek: chrónos] plays in our physiology, endocrinology, metabolism and behavior at many organizational levels. While it has been used as a term and somewhat pursued as a discipline for decades, it appears that chronomedicine has captured a broader interest as a promising specialty only more recently. This commentary addresses roots of chronomedicine in the 1900s and perspectives for chronomedicine in the 21 st century. Classical terms of chronobiology, e.g., Zeitgeber, melatonin and circadian, may be traced back to Aschoff, Lerner, and Halberg, respectively, but who actually coined the term "chronomedicine" and used it first in a publication remains unclear. Importantly, it could be(come) rather straightforward to transfer abundant insights gained from chronobiology to strategies in chronomedicine as animal models have been increasingly developed to understand human health and disease. Perspectively, chronomedicine should comprise "clinical chronomedicine" (individual-based) and "preventive chronomedicine" (population-based). Overall, due to the "maturing" of chronomedicine as a field, the near future might bring a section dedicated to chronomedicine in existing journals, or even a "Journal of Chronomedicine" as vectors of ideas and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-360
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroendocrinology Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Aschoff
  • Chronobiology
  • Chronomedicine
  • Halberg
  • Lerner
  • Melatonin
  • Pittendrigh
  • Zeitgeber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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