Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Man flu :Man is the weaker sex ;) ;)

Men's ability to turn a sniffle into flu and a headache into a migraine has long been a source of irritation to wives and girlfriends.

But the new research suggests that they are not faking it and that they suffer diseases more seriously and for longer.
Scientists believe it is the male predilection for a "live fast, die young" lifestyle that means in evolutionary terms they have failed to build up their immune systems like females.

That means that they not only catch more diseases but they tend to suffer more seriously, and for longer, from them.
Two UK researchers who developed a mathematical model to investigate why men appear to be the weaker sex where disease is concerned suggest there may be good reasons behind the "man flu" of popular imagination.It predicts that the adventurous lifestyle of the male means that they are more exposed to disease but paradoxically this reduces their immunity.

The reason is that they invest more energy in maintaining the ability to reproduce while ill and also take the view they will be reinfected quickly so do not need to have such a strong immune system.
Dr Olivier Restif, of the University of Cambridge, said: "In many cases, males tend to be more prone to get infected or less able to clear infection.
"Proposed mechanisms include interference between male hormones and immunity, as well as risk-taking behaviour.
Dr Restif said: "An increase in male susceptibility or exposure to infection favours the spread of the pathogen in the whole population and therefore tends to select for higher resistance or tolerance in both sexes if the cost of immunity is essential.

"But above a certain level of exposure, the benefit of rapid recovery in males decreases owing to constant reinfection.
"This selects for lower resistance in males, ultimately leading to the counterintuitive situation where males with higher susceptibility or exposure to infection than females evolve lower immunocompetence."

He said that maintaining the ability to mate was more important to men than getting better, yet for women it was the other way around.
The finding published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences suggests that 'man flu' is not a myth.

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