Can a Thermoregulatory Response Model Predict How the Human Body Will React in Its Environment?

Modified: 18th May 2020
Wordcount: 2289 words

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Can A Thermoregulatory Response Model Predict How The Human Body Will React In Its Environment?




The human body consists of eleven major organ systems, including the nervous system. The human nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord, controlling our body and the way we think. For this specific report, the brain will be the main part of the system that will be looked at. This includes the thermoregulatory centre, which is located in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions a section of our brains which links the nervous system to the endocrine system.

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The thermoregulatory centre is known for regulating body temperature, separating the word into separate sections, we are able to recognise thermal and regulatory or regulate. In this case, thermal relates to heat and regulate refers to control or maintain. The thermoregulatory centre maintains and controls body temperature, regulating and changing its temperature depending on the environment the body is in or faced with.

 The purpose of this report is to validate and endorse the claim ‘’models of a human thermoregulatory responses can predict how the body will react in nature’’. The term model used in this report signifies a paper model/equation created to predict and identify the temperature the body may reach in its environment. In this case, predict means to guess or estimate (something) that is to happen in the near or far future, as a result of an action.


This study will analyse and interpret data relevant to the thermoregulatory centre, and claim – stated above. 



Research Question

This investigation will conduct a breakdown and understanding of the following research question:

Can a thermoregulatory response model predict how the human body will react in its environment?




The average body temperature of the human body, can range between 36.5-37.5°C. If and when our body is sweating, it means that the thermoregulatory (temperature-regulatory) system is activated. To keep the body cool, water or sweat evaporates from the sweat glands, cooling the body and keeping it’s temperature in the correct range. Commonly, the body is known to ‘shiver’ when cold, shivering allows the body to heat itself as it’s allowing muscles to move within the body. People that suffer with hyperthyroidism tend to feel hot or receive hot flushes every once in a while. Whereas  if you are cold, almost on a daily basis, you could have anaemia or diabetes.

The human organism maintaining its body temperature is just one of the many specialties it has. But what are the chances of predicting the response of the human thermoregulatory system, is it possible to even do so? An article written in 2015, states that humans can detect and predict temperature in many ways. The most complex of these—likely a uniquely human trait—is the ability to predict changes in ambient temperature long before such changes could potentially impact temperature in the body’s core. This claim is stating that the human body itself is able to predict changes in temperature.

Depending on environment, the temperature your body can tolerate essentially depends on  your age, gender and medical history. A common reaction to cold environments is shivering and even hypothermia. If you are healthy, physiological systems such as the thermoregulatory system can prevent hypothermia from occurring. It is also important to note that feeling hot or cold is different to being hot or cold. You may feel cold, but your body core temperature can remain the same. Typically, relating to gender, women are more likely to feel colder than men due to the lower metabolic rate, producing less heat than men, which causes the feeling of being cold.

The chances of a thermoregulatory model being able to predict how the body will react in its environment, seem quite high – depending on how much you know on thermoregulatory models. The evidence that will be displayed in this paper may use equations such as:

S = M – (± W,) ± E ± R ± C ± K. [W/m^2]


This equation describes heat balance.



M = metabolic rate.

W = measurable external work.

R = heat exchange to and from (±) the environment by radiation (R).

C = heat exchange to and from (±) the environment by convection.

K = heat exchange to and from (±) the environment by conduction.

E = heat exchange between the body and the environment by evaporation. (±)


W/m^2 = watts per square metre.

The sum of these processes is heat storage (S), which represents heat gain by the body if positive or heat loss from the body if negative.





A study published in 2013, conducted research titled Prediction of human core body temperature using non-invasive measurement methods. This study was not conducted with a thermoregulation model, but a principle component analysis was conducted to extract independent factors, which were then used in a linear regression model. A linear regression model is used for estimating the relationships amongst variables. (Y=a+BX)


Y = dependent variable

X = independent variable

B = the slope of the line

A = y-intercept

This specific study was to define relevant non-invasive measures to predict core body temperatures under various conditions. Their conclusion state the following: results from this study illustrate that multiple physiological parameters (e.g. skin temperature and skin heat fluxes) are needed to predict core body temperature. Experiments presented in this study were human subject studies with different experimental protocols.

To be able to predict core body temperature in different environmental and working conditions, skin temperature, heart rate and particularly skin heat flux have to be considered for a reliable prediction. Stated again in the conclusion of this report, they recommend measuring parameters close to the skin rather than distant from the human surface, where the influence of the measurement results becomes less controlled.

The information gathered from the study is a closer step towards our claim, models of a human thermoregulatory responses can predict how the body will react in nature. The only problem with this study is that they were able to predict the body’s reaction, but the model used was not what is being looked for.

Continuing research, an analysis on the thermoregulatory model was published in 2014. Throughout this analysis they state various thermoregulatory models have been developed to describe regulation of body core temperature about a set-point.

Further readings of this article provide an insight to modulation.

Figure 1.

There are a number of nonthermal factors that can modulate thermoeffector activity. Taking a look at figure 1, it’s stated that a nonthermal impairment in the body’s physiological capacity to dissipate heat. For example, dehydration, aging, chronic diseases or poor fitness.   (View dashed lines, figure 1). One way this can result is from the onset threshold of the response being shifted to the right, such that a greater change in mean body temperature is required to initiate the activation of the heat loss response. It has been suggested that a parallel shift in the onset threshold of both effector responses must occur to be representative of a central modulation.


So how does this go back to the research question? Truthfully it doesn’t. After reading further studies on modulation of thermoregulatory response, there are no ways to predict body temperature unless tested physically.



Through this paper, two main experimental researches were completed with precise approaches. There are no faults with either experiments. Experiment A, (Prediction of human core body temperature using non-invasive measurement methods) however claimed to have tested non-invasive measures; this is half-true. Reading this experiment, there are graphs that include invasive measure, that were tested. This may have been to test accuracy of testing the non-invasive measures, which came out to be quite different in measures. (See Figure 2).

Experiment A:

Invasive measurement method.

Figure 2


Article B, was research on physiological adaptations in response to heat or cold. This research showed no faults in thoughts of honesty and references. However the full chapter for this article was unable to be obtained, which limited research information. All other information obtained was via medical websites and online books and articles, all which deem to be trustworthy. 

In future, further research should be conducted before accessing or creating a report.


The research evidence that was analysed and obtained from these studies, did not provide enough evidence to support the claim of models of a human thermoregulatory responses can predict how the body will react in nature. However, it was able to be identified that there are several ways to predict core-body temperature without invasive measures. These predictions were not what was to be looked for, but it gave a greater insight to this study.

It is clear that the chances of predicting core-body temperature with a replicated thermoregulatory model is close to unresearched. The data collected was in-fact trustworthy and accurate, but not the answer that needed to be answered. The near future always holds open opportunities for experiments to be conducted to answer this question.

Unfortunately no answer was able to be obtained.










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