‘Man Flu’ has been used as a derogatory term towards men for years. But new research shows that men really do suffer the symptoms of a common cold more than women.
Research from Durham University, conducted on human brains so as to avoid the derision levelled at the 2009 research that had only been conducted on mice, neuroscientist Dr. Amanda Ellison explains:
“Children deal with colds the same way because the relevant area of the brain is the same size in boys and girls, but when boys hit puberty testosterone starts to act on the area, called the preoptic nucleus, making it larger.
When you have a cold one of the things that happens is you get an increase in temperature to fight off the bugs. The bugs can’t survive at higher temperatures. When your immune system is under attack the preoptic nucleus increases temperature to kill off the bugs.
But men have more temperature receptors because that area of the brain is bigger in men than women, so men run a higher temperature and feel rougher; and if they complain they feel rough then maybe they’re right.”
Dr. Ellison is aware that her findings will only fuel the fire of discussion regarding the ‘Man Flu’ effect:
“I’m just throwing it out there. The debate will rage on and quite rightly so. The trouble with man flu has always been that there is not much hard evidence that the feelings are worse in males than in females. This is just a possible cause.”
At the very least, now men can give a decent reason why they are feeling the effects of a common cold more than their female friends. Man Flu, it seems, really does exist.
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