If you’ve ever felt as if you’re slowly morphing into your significant other — your taste in television shows or your switch from being a night owl to an early bird — there may be a scientific explanation readily available, at least on the level of your immune systems: researchers recently found that co-habitating parents had a 50% reduction in the variation between their two immune systems. So yes, you two likely have been passing that annoying cold back and forth after your child brought it home from school, but living together as parents has greater additional implications than expected on your immune system — even more so than the flu vaccine or severe traveler’s gastroenteritis.
Over the course of three years, researchers in Belgium and the United Kingdom studied the immune systems of 670 people between the ages of two and eighty-six. Age had a tremendous effect on the immune system and how it functions, yet the researchers were surprised to find that parenting with another person created immune system similarities and had a much more potent effect than even an acute illness. In the video above, you can see how the immune systems of two unrelated people move along independently before coming closer on the occasion of their child’s birth (marked by the pink flash). As Dr. Adam Liston, co-research leader of this study said, “Since parenting is one of the most severe environmental challenges anyone willingly puts themselves through, it makes sense that it radically rewires the immune system.” Interestingly, the study revealed that although people’s immune systems vary greatly, everyone has a specific stable immune landscape that typically bounces back after an immune challenge, although there was no word as to when or if our immune system will ever return to our pre-kid, pre-living together landscape.
via Science Daily