Brain diseases worsen due to climate change

Brain diseases worsen due to climate change
Brain diseases worsen due to climate change

Climate change is worsening the symptoms of many brain conditions, according to a new study published in The Lancet Neurology. With increasing temperature and humidity, strokes, migraines, meningitis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease could become more serious .

As summarized by ScienceAlert, which summarizes the results of this study, this is explained by the fact that, with millennia of evolution, our body has perfectly adapted to certain climatic conditions. Our brain also works better in a relatively narrow temperature range.

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Humans are most comfortable between 20°C and 26°C, and between 20% and 80% humidity. It only takes a small upward shift for different regions of the brain to start working less well together. When it’s particularly hot, temperature regulation in the brain fails, which can increase the risk of dysfunction.

Immediate danger

Already for a healthy brain, extreme temperatures can be a burden; but if you have a brain disease, they are even much worse. For example, heat disrupts sleep, which impairs seizure control in epilepsy. Additionally, it can thicken the blood, increasing the likelihood of clotting and therefore strokes. In some people with multiple sclerosis, overheating slows the transmission of information along already damaged nerves, leading to worsening symptoms.

Another study found that during the 2003 European heatwave, around 20% of excess deaths in France were among people with neurological disorders. To limit these deaths and suffering in the future, it is essential that governments, institutions and doctors provide people with brain diseases with appropriate information about the risks associated with extreme temperatures.

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