Study Finds People Become Less Intelligent During A Heat Wave

FORT SMITH(KFSM) - Imagine you're outside and the sun is beating down on you.

You may have said, "It's too hot to even think!"

Well, there may be some truth to that.

The summer heat not only affects how you feel physically, but it can affect your intelligence.

Researchers at Harvard University published a study looking at the affects of high temperatures on the human brain and thinking, by looking at 44 college students in 2016.

Anthony Dunkerson is in tune with what happens to his body in the heat. He's also aware of what happens to his mind.

"Your coordination goes quick when you get hot," said Dickerson, "Your mind will start getting blank, your eyes will go fuzzy."

The study finds that cognitive function declined when people were given specific tests in a non air-conditioned, indoor environment.

We spoke with an emergency physician at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith about it.

"People can start having mental status changes that really, they're not aware of," said Dr. Kennedy.

Changes such as confusion or repeating themselves.

Kennedy said people can also show flu-like symptoms.

On a hot or humid day the ER at Mercy can see up to 10 come in with heat-related injuries, according to Kennedy.

"They just don't have the cognitive ability to perceive that they're that dehydrated or that weak," Kennedy said, "and there's probably a lot of other chemical changes that we don't understand completely."

Kennedy recommends drinking more water than you think you need, take breaks and seek shade; especially when outdoors.