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overview As a behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Hanlon's primary research interests have included the detrimental effects of sleep loss and how sleep benefits health, with particular focus on the links between sleep deficiency, obesity, and diabetes. Specifically, she has focused on the effect of sleep restriction on brain reward and feeding systems as well as peripheral metabolic systems in both rodent and human models. Her most recent studies have identified a 24hr rhythm in circulating endocannabinoid (eCB) levels, a system that has garnered much attention in recent years for its involvement in the regulation of hedonic food intake. Dr. Hanlon has shown that this rhythm is altered by sleep loss suggesting the involvement of the eCB system and hedonic eating in the excess food intake observed following sleep restriction. Further, she demonstrated that obese individuals have a misaligned endocannabinoid rhythm, suggesting that circadian disruption in the eCB system may constitute a circadian-mediated mechanism contributing to the underlying pathophysiology of obesity.
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