Cold or warm temperatures have a direct impact on how our genes work. New study shows that the diseases we develop throughout the year are related to the seasonal changes.
The changing of the seasons appears to have a huge impact on our bodies and our genes, states new study.
This newly discovered fact, might be the answer to why certain health issues are intensified during winter time.
The research has shown that the human genes from our immune system, representing the shield against infections show higher level of activity during the cold season.
This process developed by our system, keeps viruses and flu away but it also has an unexpected counter effect, as it may lead to health conditions like arthritis. The explanation for this, might be the fact that the body starts a attack on itself.
There are some chronic diseases that are highly connected to the season, such as heart diseases, type 1 diabetes, arthritis and even multiple sclerosis, explained John Todd, the lead author of the study and a genetic expert from the University of Cambridge. People have beens asking themselves for tens of years why is this happening.
Researchers analysed blood and tissue samples which were taken from more than 16,000 individuals living in different regions of the planet. They monitored 22,000 human genes and reached a result which showed that 25% of the individuals suffered from seasonal changes.
The changes in genes that were most obvious, were those that were involved with the immunity and inflammation of the body. The results showed that during the cold months, these genes had an increased activity.
One thing that stood out was the fact that genes connected to inflammation appeared more active during winter, while genes fighting inflammation had a lower activity during winter.
The analysis on individuals living in regions where temperatures are warm throughout the entire year, like those closer to the equator, showed a completely different behaviour. The immunity system of people living in these areas showed an increased activity during the rainy season which is favourable for the appearance of diseases like malaria.
For instance, in the United Kingdom, during cold months like , January,February and March there has been noticed an increase in type of diabetes cases.In Iceland, where temperatures are low for all year long, researchers discovered less seasonal changes.
During cold periods from December from February for people living at the northern part of the equator and from June to August for people living in the southern part of the equator, the genes proved to be more active.
For now, it is not clear what exactly in the season change is affecting our genes but researchers have their suspicions.
One of the reasons may have to do with the shortening of the day as the season gets colder, which could mean that temperature and daylight could be involved in the phenomenon.
Image Source: josephmfoster