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Researchers Find “Normal” Body Temperature Has Dropped

TIME (1/14, Park) states that 98.6°F (37°C) has been considered the “normal” human body temperature since 1871, but “in a paper published last week in eLife, researchers at Stanford University reported that the normal human body temperature has dropped since that time.” Looking at data “collected between 1862 and 2017,” the team found that “on average, the temperatures dropped by 0.03°C and 0.29°C per decade for men and women, respectively, over the 150-year span.” Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, said this change may be due to several factors, including the development of treatments to address inflammatory conditions, including periodontal disease. The article says the findings support “the idea of moving away from using a universal ‘normal’ temperature, and towards more personalized temperature readings that take into account the many factors that can influence the measure, like height, weight, age, time of day, and outside temperature.”

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