Warm Weather May Affect Cognitive Skills Of MS Patients

Recent research reveals that people with MS may experience difficulties when it comes to learning and processing information in warmer days of the year. The new research will be presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on April of this year.

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

The study involved 80 participants, with half of the group comprising of MS patients and the other half people without MS. Each group was given tests to measure cognitive ability through learning, memory and the speed of how they process information. The participants who have MS also took brains scans.  Along with the tests, the daily temperature when the tests were conducted was also taken and recorded.

The study results showed that people who suffered from MS fared better during cooler days as compared to warmer days. The group scored 70 percent better on their tests where the temperature was low than on days of high temperatures. There was no substantial difference or link between warm and cooler days and their eventual scores for those people without MS who took the same tests.

“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,” Leavitt further added.

Source: American Academy of Neurology. “Warm weather may hurt thinking skills in people with multiple sclerosis.” ScienceDaily 18 February 2011. 22 February 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.com¬≠ /releases/2011/02/110217165255.htm>

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