Valentine's Day is over, but that doesn't mean you have to give up on love. There are numerous benefits to showing affection, and according to a new study, those include warding1 off colds.
The new research, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, found that falling in love is associated with an increased activity of certain genes2, particularly ones involved in antiviral defenses. In other words, love could help us fight off viruses like colds and the flu.
The small study involved just 47 women who were given weekly questionnaires and had their blood taken over 24 months, depending on their relationship timeline. To be eligible3 for the study, women had to be in a new relationship, which was defined as seeing someone for less than a month.
While women who fell in love over the course of the study had increased activity of the immunity4 genes, this wasn't observed in women who did not fall in love.
"This could reflect a kind of a proactive response to anticipating future intimate contact, given that most viruses are spread via close physical contact," said Damian Murray, lead author of the study and assistant professor at Tulane's School of Science and Engineering.
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