Human Genes Change with the Seasons
The seasons may have a significant effect on how our genes and immune system function, according to a new study published in _Nature Communications. _
An international team of scientists determined that the genes associated with our immune system were more active in colder months. That's good news for fighting colds and the flu, but it may also trigger or worsen inflammation and the symptoms of other conditions where the body attacks itself, such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.
The researchers said this could explain why people were prone to certain diseases at particular times of year.
Experts noted that these gene changes could have developed in prehistoric humans, back when seasonal changes in gene activity related to inflammation could help fight infection. But those changes could now have become a risk factor for diseases of modern life, said the study's authors.