The Big Chill

“Average” human body temperatures have decreased by about .05 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the 1800s.

Stanford study tracked data from the Civil War to 2017 and found that men are about 1.06 degrees cooler and women are down 0.57 degrees. 

Hypotheses vary: advancements in medicine mean humans have less inflammation or perhaps heated/cooled indoor spaces don’t require our bodies to adjust as much. But researchers don’t really know what caused the drop. 

Co-author Catherine Ley says she’d like to see a “sliding scale” of normal temperatures based on demographics and is interested in what averages could reveal about the health of larger populations. 


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