Has the average human body temperature dropped? Some researchers think so. Having looked at data spanning 157 years, and adjusting for potential variances in measuring methodologies, they figure our average temp has dropped by about one half of one degree Fahrenheit. A lot of variables are postulated, including less overall inflammation, different microbial exposures, and improved hygiene and public sanitation over that period. My favorite was a suspected decline in metabolic rates, causing us to burn less.
Hmm, more sedentary working conditions, a lessened ratio of physical labor vs. access to cheap processed foods…I’ll buy that. While Xbox’s and iPads are likely contributors, it’s less clear whether the duller wits certainly promoted by a more slothful resting rate actually encourage listening to bad music, or whether Katy Perry was an original contributor as well.
The greater question of course, is what should we do about it? There are no established ill effects from what well could be a mere side effect. If the past few years have taught us nothing else, it is that we should jump up waving our arms wildly about, running in circles shrieking, and demand that the government produce more funding to combat the problem. We need major international conferences held in auditoriums maintained at a strict 99.5 (extra ice will be needed for the shrimp and champagne), and serious-minded academics will need grants for field research in Tahiti and the Caribbean, after which they will simultaneously recommend massive new taxation and programs to encourage greater family metabolic stability. Doritos stock will plunge, and then rise with a new “thermogenic pepper” flavor, and the gastric bypass industry will continue unsated. The AAFP will want to lay the groundwork with the ABFM for now climate-responsive metabolism MOC modules, and CMS will need to make post-modern metabolic adjusted temperature the new fifth vital sign. Providers from every level of nominal training and dubious qualification must be well poised to stand on the brink of an exciting new age of measurement and non-discovery.