Tuesday December 10, 2019

Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

The study focused specifically on an area of the brain that is responsible for visual attention

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Illness
This research finding is major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of Illness may reduce alertness. Pixabay

Scientists have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness or mental fatigue that often accompanies Illness.

A team at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Human Brain Health investigated the link between the mental fog and inflammation — the body’s response to illness.

In a study published in Neuroimage, the team in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam showed that inflammation appears to have a particular negative impact on the brain’s readiness to reach and maintain an alert state.

Scientists have long suspected a link between inflammation and cognition, but it is very difficult to be clear about the cause and effect.

“For example, people living with a medical condition or being very overweight might complain of cognitive impairment, but it’s hard to tell if that’s due to the inflammation associated with these conditions or if there are other reasons,” said senior study author Dr Ali Mazaheri from University of Birmingham.

The study focused specifically on an area of the brain that is responsible for visual attention.

A group of 20 young male volunteers took part and received a salmonella typhoid vaccine that causes temporary inflammation but has few other side effects.

Brain activity was measured while they performed the attention tests.

On a different day, either before or after, they received an injection with water (a placebo) and did the same attention tests.

Illness
Scientists have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness or mental fatigue that often accompanies Illness. Pixabay

On each test day, they were unaware of which injection they had received.

The results showed that inflammation specifically affected brain activity related to staying alert, while the other attention processes appeared unaffected by inflammation.

“This research finding is major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of illnesses may reduce alertness,” noted Professor Jane Raymond.

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The next step for the team will be to test the effects of inflammation on other areas of brain function such as memory. (IANS)

Next Story

Global Warming Can Make You Fall ill More Often: Study

The study said that increased heat may cause illness through undernourishment in a number of ways: reducing appetites, provoking more alcohol consumption, reducing motivation or ability to shop and cook and exacerbate any undernutrition

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Global Warming
Global Warming is one of the biggest threats to the reduction of hunger and undernutrition, especially in low and middle-income countries. Pixabay

Global Warming is likely to increase illnesses caused by undernutrition, due to the effects of heat exposure, researchers have warned.

For the study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, the researhers analysed daily hospitalisation data covering almost 80 per cent of Brazil between 2000 and 2015.

They studied the link between daily mean temperatures and hospitalisation for undernourishment according to the International Classification of Diseases.

“The association between increased heat and hospitalisation for undernutrition was greatest for individuals aged over 80, and those 5 to 19 years,” said the researchers from Monash University, Australia.

The researchers found that for every 1 degree Celsius increase in daily mean temperature during the hot season, there was a 2.5 per cent increase in the number of hospitalisations for undernutrition.

“We estimated that 15.6 per cent of undernutrition hospitalisations could be attributed to heat exposure during the study period,” said study’s lead author Yuming Guo.

Global Warming
Global Warming is likely to increase illnesses caused by undernutrition, due to the effects of heat exposure, researchers have warned. Pixabay

The study said that increased heat may cause illness through undernourishment in a number of ways: reducing appetites, provoking more alcohol consumption, reducing motivation or ability to shop and cook and exacerbate any undernutrition, resulting in hospitalisation.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to the reduction of hunger and undernutrition, especially in low and middle-income countries. It has been estimated that climate change will reduce global food availability by 3.2 per cent and thus cause about 30,000 underweight-related deaths by 2050,” the report said.

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“It is plausible to speculate that climate changes could not only increase the rate of undernutrition in the most affected areas of the globe, but at the same time, impair individuals’ capacity to adapt to projected rises in temperature,” said the researchers. (IANS)