The worrying effect the heatwave could be having on your brain

There's no doubt the recent spate of hot weather has been a welcome change from the normal, drizzly conditions we experience in the UK.

And with millions of us flocking to pub gardens, parks, and pools across the UK to enjoy the rising temperatures, it seems we’re all finally enjoying a brilliant summer.

However, the heatwave could actually be creating some less fun consequences when it comes to the function of our brains.

According to a recent study by Harvard University, the hot weather could be stopping our brains from working properly.

Scientists at the American university surveyed a group of students, including some who lived in air-conditioned buildings, and others who did not – and instead studied in swelteringly hot rooms.

The study found that those who worked in hot, non-air-conditioned rooms actually experienced a decrease in brain function – performing around 13% worse in problem solving and memory tests.

The 44 students were monitored over the course of a very hot summer in Boston, in 2016. They were tested shortly after waking up.

And while the study only observed schoolchildren, its lead scientist suggested that the same would likely also apply to adults in warm conditions.

Dr Jose Guillermo Cedeno-Laurent, speaking The Independent, explained “This applies to kids in schools, office workers – and often we find that temperature levels are too hot because there is no air conditioning,”

Researchers on the study also recommended that air-con be rolled out as much as possible, in order to ensure optimum working conditions.

However, Professor Max Headley, a physiologist at the University of Bristol, speaking to the Independent, suggested that a bigger, and wider study is needed to fully assess the impact of heat on our brain functions.

He suggested that the results were not surprising, given that the tests were done soon after the students woke up – and they were probably simply just tired and dehydrated, conditions made worse by a hot, sweaty night’s sleep.

Prof. Max said, “To my mind the observations can be readily explained by simple physiological factors that are entirely predictable. I can’t see that it’s anything to get excited about.”

But if you notice yourself feeling more lethargic, and less able to think in the heatwave, there may be an entirely logical explanation to be found in the studies results…

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