Climate change and diseases.  These patients are particularly at risk

British scientists say in the Lancet Neurology journal that climate change is having a negative impact on people with brain diseases. Research shows that extreme events associated with air temperature and its large fluctuations are particularly dangerous.

Scientists from University College London reviewed 332 scientific publications published around the world between 1968 and 2023, concerned with the relationship between climate change and symptoms of 19 different nervous system diseases, such as stroke, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, meningitis and epilepsy. And multiple sclerosis. In addition, several common mental illnesses were included in the analysis, including anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia.

The study authors obtained evidence that climate change affects patients with certain brain diseases, especially after stroke and nervous system infections.

“Climate change that has an impact on the course of brain diseases includes extreme temperatures and large temperature differences during the day, especially when they are unusual for a particular season,” commented Professor Sanjay Sisodia, who led the study, and co-founder of the Association of Professionals Supporting Research on Climate Change. and epilepsy (climate change epilepsy). He stressed that “night temperatures may be of particular importance because high temperatures at night may disturb sleep.” He pointed out that sleep problems, in turn, can exacerbate many brain diseases.

At higher ambient temperatures or during heatwaves, there has been an increase in hospital admissions for strokes, as well as more disabilities and deaths from strokes.

People with dementia are vulnerable to the negative effects of abnormalities

In addition, people with dementia have been reported to be vulnerable to the harmful effects of extreme temperatures (including problems with overheating or hypothermia) and weather anomalies, such as floods or natural fires. This may be related to the fact that cognitive disorders limit the ability to adapt to environmental changes. Low risk awareness in these people is associated with a poor ability to seek help or prevent and mitigate potential harm, for example by increasing fluid consumption in hot weather or choosing appropriate clothing, the researchers wrote.

In their opinion, this susceptibility to disease is enhanced by fragility, multimorbidity (co-occurrence of different diseases) and the use of psychotropic substances. Therefore, large temperature fluctuations, warmer days and heat waves lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths among people with dementia.

Mental health and ambient temperature

The analysis also revealed a link between several mental health disorders – morbidity, hospital admissions and mortality – and increased ambient temperatures, daily temperature fluctuations or extremely high and low temperatures. As the study authors emphasized, there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of climate change on people with neurological diseases. This will help them take effective action to maintain their health and prevent inequality from worsening.

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