Sunday, February 20, 2011

Warm weather may impair cognitive function of people with MS, new study says

From The LA Times:

Warm weather is known to aggravate multiple sclerosis, increasing the number of lesions that develop in the brain and spinal cord and leading to a flare-up of symptoms such as numbness and fatigue. But a new study shows that warm weather can also impair cognitive function.

The study, which will be presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, examined 40 people with the disease and 40 healthy people.

The researchers, from the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, N.J., found that people with multiple sclerosis scored 70% better on thinking tests during cooler days as compared with warmer days. There was no difference in test scores linked to weather conditions for healthy people.

Patients with multiple sclerosis should know that their memory and learning ability may be somewhat hindered on warm days, the authors said. And researchers working on multiple sclerosis should take into account weather when conducting clinical trials.