Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

Warmer Weather & Brain Function in People With MS

MRI study found that some brains respond abnormally to higher temperatures

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Warmer temperatures might reduce the ability of people with multiple sclerosis to complete mental tasks and process information, new research suggests.

Although heat has long been linked to a worsening of symptoms among people with the inflammatory disease, it wasn't clear exactly how the process worked. The new study used brain-imaging technology to focus on the areas of the brain affected by rising temperatures, the researchers said.

"We found there is a correlation between outdoor temperature and levels of brain activity," said study principle investigator Victoria Leavitt, a research scientist at the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, N.J. "The amount of activity in people's brains increases when the temperature is warm, and lowers when temperatures are lower."

The researchers suggested that their findings could lead to the development of treatment strategies that may help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) cope with the effects of warmer weather on their quality of life.

The study involved 28 people with MS (26 women and 2 men) who had worse mental function on warmer days.

Using functional MRI, the researchers found that higher temperatures increased activity in certain parts of the brain -- the frontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex -- during simple mental tasks. This increase in brain activity was not seen in a comparison group of people who did not have MS.

"These areas of the brain that we've highlighted are referred to very generally as task-related areas of the brain," Leavitt said. "They are involved in our ability to multitask, or process a lot of information and apply ourselves to the most important task at any given moment." Leavitt said people with MS frequently report having trouble doing just that.

The findings were published online recently in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior,

Another expert called the new findings "a classic example of good news and bad news."

"The study shows us the ways in which brain function is different in MS. In a way, it's nature's way of compensating for the deficits of MS," said Nicholas LaRocca, vice president of health care delivery and policy research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which helped fund the study.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm