(ORDO NEWS) — Have you ever noticed that in winter it is not always good to work, and you get tired faster and think more slowly? It turns out that the fact is that the time of year and air temperature can affect the functioning of the brain.
Researchers from the University of Liege in Belgium subjected 28 healthy young test subjects to a laboratory experiment.
In the room where they were placed for four and a half days, they removed all the signs by which it was possible to determine the season, what time it is, and the subjects were also deprived of contact with the outside world.
Participants also followed a healthy sleep pattern prior to the study and then went through cycles of sleep deprivation and recovery afterward in the lab.
During the trial, the researchers monitored subjects’ brain activity using MRI scans as the participants completed memory and attention tasks. Then the same experiments with the same participants were repeated for 12 months at different times of the year.
For the most part, the participants’ performance did not change throughout the year, but the level of brain activity changed with the seasons.
When participants performed attention tasks, brain activity spiked in the summer and dropped in the winter. When it came to testing memory, the brain showed the most activity in the fall, and least of all in the spring.
Of course, the study is still quite small and preliminary, and it only shows a correlation between brain activity and seasons, and not a reason to link them.
But Scientific American points out that the findings may already help people with seasonal mood disorders.
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