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Human Cold Adaptation and Health

Guest Editors

Takafumi Maeda, Kyushu University, Japan
Kazuhiro Nakayama, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Cara Ocobock, University of Notre Dame, USA
Takayuki Nishimura, Kyushu University, Japan

Physiological anthropology aims to pursue the diversity of human adaptability to the environment and its mechanisms. This collection focuses on cold adaptation and its impact on health in humans.  Physiological responses to cold mainly promote thermal insulation and thermogenesis in the body. These responses maintain thermal homeostasis in the body and must have been necessary for the expansion of humans to Eurasia in the last glacier period. Anthropometric variations that can be explained by Allen-Bergman’s rule have been a long-standing subject in studies of cold adaptation in humans. Physiological and genetic studies have recently progressed on non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) via the brown adipose tissue (BAT) and cold-induced vascular response. Notably, it has been proven that NST and BAT can ameliorate obesity and related complications. Also, cold climate influences mortality through cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems. Therefore, studying human cold adaptation is important to decipher not only human evolutionary history but also health issues in modern societies. However, research on mechanisms, diversity, and health implications of human cold adaptation is still in its infancy. For example, although genetic factors are expected to relate to variation of cold adaptability, very few candidate genes have been reported. Therefore, we are welcome to submit your research articles that accelerate our understanding of human cold adaptation through laboratory experiments, field surveys, and in silico analysis of public data sets to our collection. Review papers that provide a comprehensive overview of this study field are also welcome.

There are currently no articles in this collection.