Study Finds That Extreme Heat Impairs Cognitive Function, Especially Among The Poor And Black


NASA has designated July 2023 as the ``hottest month'' since it began recording global temperatures, the average summer temperature has been rising in recent years compared to decades ago. A study by New York University revealed that extreme heat not only increases the risk of heat stroke, but also reduces human cognitive function.

Cumulative exposure to extreme heat and trajectories of cognitive decline among older adults in the USA | Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Scorching reality: Extreme heat worsens cognitive decline •

In recent years, the number of extremely hot days with maximum temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius has increased, raising public health concerns. It has been pointed out that if you continue to be exposed to intense heat, you may experience physical symptoms due to heat stroke, or in the worst case, die. However, previous studies have not clarified the long-term effects of exposure to extreme heat on cognitive function.

Therefore, the research team investigated whether exposure to extreme heat is associated with cognitive decline in the elderly, and how it is related to race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Based on the University of Michigan's

Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study , the research team included 12 years of data from 2006 to 2018 in people aged 52 and over living in the United States. Based on past temperature data, we analyzed the relationship between cognitive function and socioeconomic data of about 9,500 adults.

The analysis found that prolonged exposure to extreme heat accelerated cognitive decline in poor residents. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that the cognitive function of people living in wealthy areas tends to be protected from extreme heat waves.

Research team Henna Lee said, ``Wealthy areas tend to have many facilities that are useful during extreme heat, such as green spaces such as well-developed parks, air conditioners, and cooling centers.On the other hand, areas where many poor people live 'They tend to have few or no such facilities.'

The research team further revealed that ``black elderly had faster cognitive decline due to exposure to heat waves than white and Hispanic elderly.'' The research team speculates, ``Black seniors may have suffered social disadvantages throughout their lives due to racist social structures, isolation from white society, and other discriminatory policies.'' doing.

Based on these findings, the research team recommended that local governments and health authorities `` immediately identify, support, and communicate closely with residents, such as the poor, who are vulnerable to heat waves. I'm here.

Research team member Choi Eun-young said, ``Research has shown that vulnerable people, such as poor residents, suffer a variety of disadvantages when faced with extreme heat waves. In this climate change, we need to strengthen support for vulnerable groups who may be at risk from extreme heat to build resilient communities. There is.”

in Science, Posted by log1r_ut