New Study Links Climate Change to Worsening Dementia and Migraines

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.21 - 2024 10:32 AM CET

Climate change is not only impacting the environment but is also exacerbating mental health issues, a new study has found.

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Researchers from University College London have investigated whether rising temperatures and extreme weather events caused by climate change are affecting people with mental health disorders or neurological conditions.

Their findings reveal a concerning connection between climate change and the exacerbation of certain health issues.

The Effects of Extreme Temperatures

The study, published in The Lancet Neurology, examined conditions such as dementia, migraines, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. The researchers discovered that some of these health issues are directly impacted by increasingly frequent heatwaves and extreme weather patterns.

"Climatic variations that affect brain disorders include extreme temperatures and significant daily temperature variations, especially when these are unusual for the season," explained Professor Sanjay Sisodiya from the Institute of Neurology at University College London.

These variations, according to the study, have led to more hospitalizations and increased mortality rates among individuals with mental health disorders.

Both extreme cold and extreme heat pose risks.

The researchers found that higher temperatures increased both mortality rates and hospital admissions for stroke patients.

Individuals with dementia, who generally have a harder time adapting to their surroundings, are particularly vulnerable during extreme weather events. They face greater risks of falling ill from heat or cold and may struggle to seek help during floods or other natural disasters.

Professor Sisodiya also pointed out that higher nighttime temperatures could lead to poor sleep, which is known to worsen mental health conditions.

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