Extreme Heat Exposure Linked to Faster Cognitive Decline in Vulnerable Populations

An association was seen for Black residents and residents of poor neighborhoods, but not for White residents or those in wealthier neighborhoods.

HealthDay News Extreme heat exposure can disproportionately undermine cognitive health in later life for socially vulnerable populations, according to a study published Aug. 4 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Eun Young Choi, from New York University in New York, and colleagues merged data from 7 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (2006 to 2018) with historical temperature data to assess the role of extreme heat exposure on trajectories of cognitive function among US adults aged 52 years and older.

Researchers found that high exposure to extreme heat was associated with faster cognitive decline for Black residents and residents of poor neighborhoods. However, the association did not exist for White or Hispanic residents or residents of wealthier neighborhoods.

“Our findings underscore the need for policy actions to identify and support high-risk communities for increasingly warming temperatures,” the authors write.

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