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Immune system genes may change with the season

Our mood, metabolism and sex lives are dependent on the seasons, and now it seems, so is our immune system.

In a study published today, British and German researchers find almost a quarter of human genes are more or less active depending on the season.

The researchers say the discovery could help explain why people tend to be healthier in summer and diseases known to be seasonal such as cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis are more evident in winter.

"It helps explain why so many diseases, from heart disease to mental illness, are much worse in the winter months, but no one had appreciated the extent to which this actually occurred," says senior author Professor John Todd of the University of Cambridge...

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