Warm weather may hurt thinking skills in people with MS

February 17, 2011

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) may find it harder to learn, remember or process information on warmer days of the year, according to new research released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011.

"Studies have linked warmer weather to increased disease activity and in people with MS, but this is the first research to show a possible link between and cognition, or , in people with the disease," said study author Victoria Leavitt, PhD, with the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey.

For the study, 40 people with MS and 40 people without MS were given tests that measured learning, memory and the speed at which they processed information. Those people with MS also underwent brain scans. The daily temperature on the days the tests were taken was also recorded.

The study found that people with MS scored 70 percent better on thinking tests during cooler days compared to warmer days of the year. There was no link between thinking test scores and temperature for those without MS.

"With more research, this information might help guide people with MS in life decisions and their doctors with clinical treatment. Scientists may also consider the effect of warmer weather on cognition when conducting clinical trials," said Leavitt.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Neuro chip records brain cell activity

October 26, 2016

Brain functions are controlled by millions of brain cells. However, in order to understand how the brain controls functions, such as simple reflexes or learning and memory, we must be able to record the activity of large ...

Can a brain-computer interface convert your thoughts to text?

October 25, 2016

Ever wonder what it would be like if a device could decode your thoughts into actual speech or written words? While this might enhance the capabilities of already existing speech interfaces with devices, it could be a potential ...

The current state of psychobiotics

October 25, 2016

Now that we know that gut bacteria can speak to the brain—in ways that affect our mood, our appetite, and even our circadian rhythms—the next challenge for scientists is to control this communication. The science of psychobiotics, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2011
Normals may be tolerant to a wider temperature variation but heat is likely to have an effect at some scale.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.