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How chilly weather weakens our defenses against colds

ananyo (2519492) writes | about a year ago

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ananyo (2519492) writes "It's been a contentious proposition but scientists now have evidence that not wrapping up warm does indeed make it more likely you'll catch a cold. A team from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, found that cold temperatures dampen natural defenses against a rhinovirus, the leading cause of seasonal colds, in mice and in human airway cells.
Colds are more common in winter, and researchers have known for decades that many rhinoviruses prefer colder temperatures: they replicate better in the upper respiratory tract than they do in in the warmer environment of the lungs. But efforts to link the viruses’ apparent temperature preference and seasonal fluctuations in incidence have produced mixed results.
The researchers discovered that at cooler temperatures mice infected with the rhinovirus produced fewer antiviral immune signals. They also found that human airway cells grown in cold conditions were less likely to undergo programmed cell death — a defense mechanism aimed at limiting the spread of infections."

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