Researchers say there really is something to the old adage, "Cold hands, warm heart."
Dr. Han Kim of the University of Utah School of Medicine said the saying is demonstrable by "real differences in temperature" between men and women.
"We determined that women are more likely to have cold hands than men," said Kim, of the school's Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. "However, women's core temperatures were on average 0.4 degrees higher than men's."
His comments appear in the May 15 edition of the London-based scientific journal The Lancet.
Kim and his colleagues used an infrared tympanic thermometer, which determines core body temperature by measuring the infrared radiation given off by the eardrum.
In all, 219 people ranging in age from infants to 84 years were studied, 78 of them male and 141 female.
Women were found to have a higher average core temperature than men, but research also showed that female subjects generally had colder hands than males.
Specifically, Kim found that women had a mean core temperature of 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit compared with 97.4 for men. The mean hand temperature for women was 87.2, while men recorded 90.0 degrees.
Researchers found that menstrual status affect women's body temperatures. Postmentrual women over 50 had lower hand and core readings than premenstrual girls under age 13. Further, women within the first 14 days of their menstrual cycles were more likely to have lower core temperatures than women in the last 14 days.