AAN: Warm Weather Tied to Worse Cognition in MS

No such link found in individuals without multiple sclerosis

FRIDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Warmer weather is associated with worse cognitive functioning among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research released Feb. 17 to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held from April 9 to 16 in Honolulu.

Victoria M. Leavitt, Ph.D., of the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, N.J., and colleagues evaluated cognitive functioning among 40 individuals with MS and 40 matched healthy controls using neuropsychological tests and high resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Daily temperatures were recorded on the days testing was performed.

The investigators found that individuals with MS scored 70 percent better on cognitive testing on cooler days as compared to warmer days. But they found no link between cognitive test scores and temperature for individuals without MS.

"These findings have implications for clinical treatment, as fluctuations in cognitive status may herald otherwise quiescent exacerbations. Also, patient awareness of heat-related cognitive decline may guide life decisions, and researchers must consider the cognitive impact of temperature when planning clinical trials," the authors write.

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