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Summer Neurology: How Seasonal Changes Affect Brain Health

As the seasons change, so do our bodies and minds. The impact of seasonal changes on our physical health is well-documented, but what about our brain health? Do the warmer temperatures and longer days of summer affect our neurological well-being?

Foothills Neurology has skilled and knowledgeable neurologists in Phoenix and Scottsdale that can help when you struggle with mental health challenges. Let’s explore the emerging field of summer neurology and how seasonal changes may influence brain health.

Seasonal Neurological Factors

“The seasonal effects on our brain are likely to be mediated by circadian changes. Altered circadian rhythms could, in turn, affect our behavior and sleep-wake cycle, further influencing the timing and amount of light exposures.”

The human brain is a complex organ that is sensitive to various environmental factors, including changes in temperature, humidity, and daylight. Research suggests that seasonal variations can impact mood, cognition, and overall brain function. For instance, some studies have found an association between seasonal changes and the prevalence of certain neurological conditions, such as migraines, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and multiple sclerosis.

One of the most well-known seasonal neurological phenomena is seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of year, usually in the winter months when daylight hours are shorter. However, some individuals may also experience mood changes and cognitive fluctuations in the summer. This suggests that the brain’s response to seasonal changes is not limited to the winter season.

Sunlight and Brain Health

The influence of sunlight on brain health is a key area of interest in summer neurology. Sunlight exposure is essential for the production of vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in brain function and mental well-being. Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Therefore, the longer daylight hours of summer may have a positive impact on brain health through increased vitamin D production.

In addition to sunlight, temperature and humidity levels can also influence brain function. High temperatures and humidity can lead to dehydration, which in turn can impair cognitive performance and mood. Furthermore, heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, can have serious neurological consequences if left untreated. Understanding the interplay between environmental factors and brain health is essential for developing strategies to mitigate the potential negative effects of summer on neurological well-being.

Furthermore, seasonal changes may impact the prevalence and severity of certain neurological conditions. For example, some individuals with migraines report an increase in headache frequency and intensity during the summer months. This could be due to various factors, including changes in weather patterns, barometric pressure, and sleep patterns. By gaining a better understanding of how seasonal variations affect neurological conditions, healthcare providers can tailor treatment strategies to better meet the needs of patients throughout the year.

Summer Neurology Diagnosis and Treatment

The field of summer neurology is an emerging area of research that seeks to understand how seasonal changes influence brain health. From the impact of sunlight on mood to the association between temperature and neurological conditions, there are numerous factors to consider when exploring the intersection of summer and brain health. By gaining a deeper understanding of these connections, we can better support neurological well-being across the changing seasons.

At the Foothills Neurology Neurobehavioral Health Center, our specialists walk with you through the process of health and balance. Your provider will listen closely as you describe your experience, narrative, and memories. You will have the chance to ask questions and share any concerns. If you believe you struggle with some summertime neurological issues, schedule a consultation with us today.


Foothills Neurology