Living in ‘eternal summer' may be adversely impacting our health

Living in ‘eternal summer’ may be adversely impacting our health

By artificially changing the environment we live in, they argue, we may be working against health related bodily systems that have evolved over many years to protect us from dangers unique to each season.

Scientists have known for some time that we humans are sensitive to seasonal variations—it is in our genes, roughly a quarter of them by recent estimates. Yet we continue to live our lives in “eternal summer” heated homes filled with light, long into short winter days that simulate summer conditions. What impact does this have on our bodies? No one really knows, but the researchers with this new effort believe that there is an impact, and it is not good.

As the researchers point out, our bodies have been programmed to adapt regularly to seasonal changes—important genes have evolved to the nudge the production of proteins, for example, that normally would be responsible for helping ward off ailments such as the flu. Instead, we fool our bodies into thinking it is summer all the time, and thus leave ourselves vulnerable. They also point out that we are also artificially protecting ourselves against global warming—as it grows warmer outside, all we have to do is keep the thermostat at the level we like. But, doing so could be dangerous, they suggest, because it is leading to a disconnect with the reality of what is going on outside of our homes and places of business.

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