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February 1979

Possible Pineal-Suprachiasmatic Clock Regulation of Development and Life Span

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(2):359. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020010195026

To the Editor.  —During the past few years, studies of the aging process have suggested that development and aging in higher organisms may be genetically encoded in the brain and controlled by a precisely scheduled timetable.1 Recent evidence from studies of the blind implies that the pineal organ, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), and their biologic clock may regulate this process.Data supporting this hypothesis come from a recent study of survivorship among the blind.2 Blind persons younger than age 25 with retrolental fibroplasia were found to have a significantly better ten-year survival rate (P < .05) than other blind persons younger than age 65. Many blind persons had a shorter life expectancy because of associated systemic disease, such as diabetes. But even persons with affections of the cornea and myopia, which are two forms of blindness that have no significant association with systemic disease, did not have as high