Normal human temperature decreased over centuries

| FEBRUARY 09, 2020, 03:29 AM IST

Recent research indicates that our normal body temperature may not be  what we think it is. What everybody grew up learning, which is that our normal temperature is 98.6, could be  wrong, says Julie Parsonnet, MD, professor of medicine and of health research and policy.   

That standard of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius, was made famous by a German physician of the name, Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich, who authored the figure in a book in 1868.   

In a study published recently, Parsonnet and her colleagues ventured into the idea of a standard body temperature trends, and concluded that temperature has changed since the time of Wunderlich.   

The body temperature has decreased as the result of a series of changes in our environment over the past two centuries, which have in turn driven to physiological changes as well. 

       The body temperature of men born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 17.18 C lower than that of men born in the early1800s. Similarly, the body temperature of women born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 17.45 C lower than that of women born in the 1890s. These calculations correspond to a decrease in body temperature of -17.75 C every decade.  

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