Climate disaster will affect brain diseases


Changes in the environment around the world that are caused by man could negatively impact a variety of brain disorders including stroke, epilepsy, and nervous-system infections, as well as disruptions in sleep that worsen a number of neurological conditions

This disturbing discovery has just been published in the prestigious journal The Lancet Neurology by researchers at University College London (UCL) under the title “Climate change and disorders of the nervous system.”

Climate change, and its effects on weather patterns and adverse weather events is likely to negatively affect the health of people with brain conditions, the team of neurologists, psychiatrists, and others declared. 

UK-led research

The team stressed the urgent need to understand the impact of climate change on people with neurological conditions so as to protect their health and prevent them from declining, as well as creating more inequality between the well-off and the disadvantaged. worsening inequalities.

The team led by UCL neurology Prof. Sanjay Sisodiya conducted a meta-analysis of 332 papers published around the world between 1968 and 2023. Their conclusion was that they expected the scale of the potential effects of climate change on neurological diseases to be substantial.

Climate change (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)

They looked at 19 different nervous-system conditions chosen on the basis of the Global Burden of Disease 2016 study, including stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s, meningitis, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. They also examined the impact of climate change on several serious-but- common psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Sisodiya, who is also genomics director at the UK’s Epilepsy Society and a founding member of Epilepsy Climate Change, said: “Extremes of temperature – both low and high – and greater temperature variation throughout the course of day especially when these measures were seasonally unusual. Nighttime temperatures may be particularly important, as higher temperatures through the night can disrupt sleep.” 

The researchers also found that there was an increase in admissions to hospitals, disability, or death as a result of a stroke in higher surrounding temperatures or heatwaves.

People with dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s are susceptible to harm from extremes of temperature (heat-related illness or hypothermia) and weather events (Wildfires or flooding), as cognitive impairment can limit their ability to adapt their behavior to changes in the environment.

Those with reduced cognition are less aware of risk to their health and are less able to seek help or reduce harm as by drinking more water in hot weather and wearing lighter clothing. They may also be frail, have a number of chronic diseases, and take medications that affect their thinking and moods, they added. 

The team stressed that research on the subject must be up to date and consider not only the present state of climate change but also the future.

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