We're often referred to as 'the weaker sex' but when it comes to illness and infection, women are far tougher than men
We’re often referred to as ‘the weaker sex’ but when it comes to illness and infection, women are far tougher than men.
We may still be struggling for superiority in the working world but when it comes to immune systems women are the triumphing sex.
According to a new study, we are better programmed to resist infection enabling us to fend off germs that leave men struggling to cope.
‘Statistics show that in humans, as well as other mammals, females live longer than males and are more able to fight off shock episodes from sepsis, infection or trauma,’ says lead researcher Dr Claude Libert from Ghent University, Belgium.
Scientists believe this is due to the extra X chromosome, which plays an important function in immunity from diseases.
‘The advantages of having two X chromosomes as opposed to an X and a Y chromosome are huge,’ says Dr Eleanor Fish, professor of women’s health at the University of Toronto.
If women develop a mutation on a gene linked to the immune system on the X chromosome, they have a back up copy whereas men do not.
Dr Fish suggests the difference in evolution is probably down to the need to fight infection to protect offspring when pregnant and nurturing.
‘You don’t need many men to keep the human race going but you need females,’ she says.
Amen to that…