Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Common Cold is Happier in a Cold Nose

It appears that you should have listened to your grandma when she told you to wear the oversized hat and scarf that she had taken the time to weave for you. Believers of old folk wisdom now have scientific evidence to support the idea that cold weather makes people more susceptible to the common cold. For years, the scientific community knew that rhinoviruses replicate better in the nose than other parts of the body and a recent study suggested the mechanism responsible for this phenomenon. 

A study conducted at the Yale university found a correlation between the temperature in the nose and the strength of the innate immune response against the infection that causes the common cold. The researchers examined rhinoviruses, the most common viral infective agents that cause the common cold. They discovered that the epithelial cells in the airway secrete more RID-I-like receptor (RLR)-dependent interferons and an overall higher antiviral defense response at the temperature of 37 degrees Celsius than at 33 degrees Celsius. This evidence of temperature dependent Interferon induction suggests that the reason why rhinoviruses prefer to live in the nose is that the nose has a temperature from 33 to 35 degrees Celsius, while the lungs have a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. 

With the seasonal rise in the number of common cold cases, the results of this study are useful. The results suggest that those seeking to protect themselves against the common cold or reduce the symptoms should keep their noses warm. Dr. Iwasaki, the principal investigator of the study, indicated, “You can always stay in warm tropical weather or try to prevent the nasal cavity experiencing very cold air.”

By Mariam

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30685732
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/01/02/1411030112

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