Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Scientists finally figured out why you rarely get sick in the summer

Wet Hot American Summer Elizabeth Banks Paul Rudd 

Ever wonder where colds get their name? Or why we're all coughs and sniffles during the winter but are rarely sick in the summer?

Turns out our genes change with the seasons, just like the weather.

During the winter months, our bodies pump up the levels of many of the genes linked with inflammation, triggering the tell-tale signs of swelling and discomfort that our bodies use to protect us from colds and the flu.

In the summer, on the other hand, an altogether different set of genes get more highly expressed, including some that help regulate our blood sugar, potentially curbing cravings and helping us burn off excess fat.

A quarter of our DNA shifts with the seasons  

All this is the finding, at least, of a study published May 12 that finds that roughly 25% of all the chunks of DNA that code for various behaviors and traits in our bodies, otherwise known as genes, shift significantly with the seasons.

Many parts of our immune system, which kicks into action to fend off an infection or cold, shift too.

"I wasn't expecting to find that many," Chris Wallace, a researcher at the Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory at Cambridge University and an author of the new paper, told Business Insider.

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