Monday, November 14, 2005

Here Comes the Science: being cold might actually lead to more colds

Proving that common sense (and your mama) may not be as dumb as EBM wants to make it (or her) seem:

Claire Johnson and Professor Ron Eccles, from Cardiff University's Common Cold Center, recruited 180 volunteers, half of whom they got to immerse their feet in ice and cold water for 20 minutes.

The other 90 in tests during the common cold "season" sat with their feet in an empty bowl.

During the next four or five days, almost a third (29 percent) of the chilled volunteers developed cold symptoms -- compared to just 9 percent in the control group, the scientists said.

Professor Eccles said there was a simple explanation as to why chilly feet could lead to the development of cold virus symptoms.

"When colds are circulating in the community many people are mildly infected but show no symptoms," he said, according to the UK's Press Association.

"If they become chilled this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight infection.

"The reduced defences in the nose allow the virus to get stronger and common cold symptoms develop.

"Although the chilled subject believes they have `caught a cold' what has in fact happened is that the dormant infection has taken hold."
Because obviously a zillion years worth of people noticing, "hey, my nose is sniffly more often when I'm stuck out in the pouring freezing rain" wasn't good enough for us "scientists."

Next study: vegetable soup (sorry, chicken noodle fans) beats Tamiflu.

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