Nearly 150 years ago, a German physician analyzed a million
temperatures from 25,000 patients and concluded that normal
human-body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That standard
has been published in numerous medical texts and helped
generations of parents judge the gravity of a child’s illness.
But at least two dozen modern studies have concluded the number
is too high.
The findings have prompted speculation that the pioneering
analysis published in 1869 by Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich
Or was it?
In a new study, researchers from Stanford University argue that
Wunderlich’s number was correct at the time but is no longer
accurate because the human body has changed. Today, they say, the
average normal human-body temperature is closer to 97.5 degrees