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Medical News & Perspectives
November 13, 2018

Is There a Seasonal Influence on Cognition and Dementia?

JAMA. 2018;320(18):1848-1849. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.16286

Cognitive performance may peak in late summer and early fall and decline in late winter and early spring—at least in the Northern hemisphere—according to a recent study involving more than 3000 older people both with and without Alzheimer disease. The findings, published in PLOS Medicine in September, point to potentially exploitable fluctuations in cognition even in patients with dementia.

Limited research has previously linked the seasons to cognition in younger people. Most recently, European investigators found annual rhythms of brain activity in healthy young participants performing tasks of sustained attention and working memory.