Catherine Lay, Researcher, Syphilis discussed on Here & Now
Will that little marker Parker on the old mercury thermometer says it all ninety eight point six except that nearly one hundred seventy years after that was determined to be the norm. Scientists say it's lower lower. Now we know our bodies our little engines with cells turning food into energy creating heat and temperature. But what does it mean that it's lower. The new study from researchers occurs at Stanford Medical School is called decreasing human body temperature in the United States since the industrial revolution researcher. Catherine lay joins us now and debt-related. What's the new finding ninety eight point six two high and we think that the average normal human body temperature is closer to ninety seven point five but let's back up? How did we determine that the temperature for a well-functioning engine should be ninety eight point six? That was determined in eighteen. Fifty one a German physician position called Carl Wunderlich measured millions of temperature measurements from twenty-five thousand patients. And that's how he came up with ninety eight point point six so that population in an era where people were really quite different. That was a lot of infection in the population like tobacco. Syphilis listen syphilis and Perry Dot Davis Lots of chronic inflammation That may well have we think influence the normal body temperature of that era meaning meaning what people were having to fight off more infections. They might have just run a little hotter. Yes well we know that since then. Our standard of living has increased dramatically medically economic development changes in hygiene. We've taken all sorts of infections away. Yeah well and we've also made it these year for us to fight them. We have heating. We have air conditioning. The body doesn't have to do as much. That's absolutely right. We know that we spend a lot of time trying to keep our core temperature temperature the same in extremes of heat and cold and in the eighteen fifty s the houses were rarely heated by the nineteen twenties. We had had lots of Heating and then we've had cooling coming through and more recently so the amount of time that our buddies have to spend outside of a pretty narrow band where we don't have to use energy to stay at the right temperature has increased a lot. Well in continuing with your research. What data did you look at to come to the conclusion that it's it's our average temperatures lower? We had readings from the pension records of civil war veterans starting in the eighteen sixties all the way through one thousand nine hundred forty. We looked at a data collected by the CDC in the early Seventies. And then we had data here from Stanford from the two thousand seven to two thousand seventeen and overall we found that the temperatures of the civil war veterans higher than the measurements taken from the nineteen seventies an intern. Those measurements were higher than those collected. In the two thousand and two things were really striking one the amount of change across that time period and the fact that the temperature is has continues continues to decline at the same rate across that time period. Talk about the role of Anti inflammatories. In maybe reducing our temperatures so their our goal is to reduce inflammation so we have aspirin and Stanton's and non-steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs and decreasing inflammation is associated with reducing temperature richer and these are drugs like ibuprofen generic form of advil. Motrin does this mean that overall because our temperatures are a little bit lower we you're healthier. We believe that that's the case. We don't know that body temperature really matters as a measure of wellness on an individual level. We don't even know. Oh what average temperature means for a population We do not for example that temperature on average is higher in women than in men that older people are cooler than younger people that temperature increases with your weight and that does a huge variation across the day right. It's interesting interesting because I've always had a lower temperature so I've always known that if I am up at ninety eight point six I might have a slight fever. So that's true right. I mean everybody. Nobody has to know what their baseline is on. That's that's exactly right. If you're an elderly person making morning visit to a doctor's office complaining of illness with a temperature of ninety eight point six then we really have to think what that means. It's not normal for an elderly person to have that temperature so early in in the day and so we really should start thinking about normal temperature on an individual level based on age and sex time day height weight. Yeah well and because we read that in early in the morning we haven't warmed up yet so all of our temperatures are a little bit lower. It's really fascinating. Kids are GonNa have a field day with this announcing to say you don't have a fever or go to school really I do. Because they have lower temperature I think that's That's some of the work that needs to be done right. Actually generating adding the values for normal temperatures for our individual age and sex height weight time of Day That Stanford Researcher Catherine Lay one of the authors of a new study showing the average human temperature the norm as it was called no longer ninety eight point six. It's been falling since the industrial revolution. And right now it is drum roll. Ninety seven point five. Kathryn thanks so much UH and Tanya. I had my temperature taken recently with one of those fancy doctors things and it was ninety six degrees. I'm so glad to hear you know like I'm not dead. That's right just know your baseline that's the important takeaway. This is going to work into all the arguments over the The the Thermostat in offices production of N Vr. I'm Robin.