Genes have seasonal cycles that can play havoc with your health

 作者:訾坟沩     |      日期:2019-03-04 13:04:00
THE chilly, rainy months can easily become our winter of discontent. Not only do we get more coughs and colds, but there are also more heart attacks and diagnoses of autoimmune diseases. Now we have an idea why. Our immune system becomes more reactive in the colder months and this has unwanted effects on the body. The discovery came from analysing how gene activity changes through the year using blood samples from more than 16,000 people. The most striking pattern was that 147 genes involved in the immune system made it more reactive or “pro-inflammatory” during winter or rainy seasons (Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8000). Inflammation is increasingly being implicated in heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other conditions. The discovery that some of our genes are seasonal suggests we should watch our health more closely in winter, says co-author John Todd, from the University of Cambridge. “If you swapped hemispheres every winter, you could probably lower your pro-inflammatory status,” he says. “Some people do move to sunnier climates in winter and they probably feel better for it.” This article appeared in print under the headline “Genes weaken your health in winter” More on these topics: