(HealthDay News) – Greater activation is observed in task-related areas of the brain in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on warmer days, according to research published online Oct. 23 in Brain Imaging and Behavior.

Victoria M. Leavitt, PhD, of the Kessler Foundation Research Center in West Orange, NJ, and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 28 patients to assess the neurophysiology explaining the relationship between warmer outdoor temperatures and poorer cognition in MS.

The researchers found that warmer outdoor temperature was associated with significantly increased BOLD (blood oxygen level-dependent) fMRI activation in the frontal, dorsolateral prefrontal, and parietal cortex in MS patients during a simple sustained attention task. These brain areas showed greater activation in MS patients during task performance. This temperature-cognition relationship was not present in controls.

“We show here that MS patients activate task-related brain regions more on warmer days,” the authors write. “Increased brain activation required by MS patients on warmer days to perform a simple task may signify neural inefficiency.”

Several study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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