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Study finds “Human biology registers two seasons, not four, study suggests”

No reason the human body should know exactly when the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox are, but there are surely inflection points that are key to survival, and winter/summer is about all that counts for survival.

Human biology registers two seasons, not four, study suggests

A Stanford Medicine study finds that changes in molecular patterns in Californians correspond with two nontraditional “seasons.”

As kids, we learn there are four seasons, but researchers at the Stanford School of Medicinehave found evidence to suggest that the human body doesn’t see it this way.

“We’re taught that the four seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall — are broken into roughly equal parts throughout the year, and I thought, ‘Well, who says?’” Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics, said. “It didn’t seem likely that human biology adheres to those rules. So we conducted a study guided by people’s molecular compositions to let the biology tell us how many seasons there are.”

Four years of molecular data from more than 100 participants indicate that the human body does experience predictable patterns of change, but they don’t track with any of Mother Nature’s traditional signals. Overall, Snyder and his team saw more than 1,000 molecules ebb and flow on an annual basis, with two pivotal time periods: late spring-early summer and late fall-early winter. These are key transition periods when change is afoot — both in the air and in the body, said Snyder, who is the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, Professor in Genetics.

“You might say, ‘Well, sure, there are really only two seasons in California anyway: cold and hot,” Snyder said. “That’s true, but even so, our data doesn’t exactly map to the weather transitions either. It’s more complicated than that.”


WIND: dovetails with my own observations over many years.

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