A Stanford Medicine study finds that changes in molecular patterns in Californians correspond with two nontraditional “seasons.”
As kids, we learn there are four seasons, but researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine have found evidence to suggest that the human body doesn’t see it this way.
“We’re taught that the four seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall — are broken into roughly equal parts throughout the year, and I thought, ‘Well, who says?’” Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics, said. “It didn’t seem likely that human biology adheres to those rules. So we conducted a study guided by people’s molecular compositions to let the biology tell us how many seasons there are.”
Four years of molecular data from more than 100 participants indicate that the human body does experience predictable patterns of change, but they don’t track with any of Mother Nature’s traditional signals. Overall, Snyder and his team saw more than 1,000 molecules ebb and flow on an annual basis, with two pivotal time periods: late spring-early summer and late fall-early winter. These are key transition periods when change is afoot — both in the air and in the body, said Snyder, who is the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, Professor in Genetics.
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