Does Cognition Change With the Seasons?

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For everything there is a season—perhaps even cognition? A September 4 paper in PLoS Medicine reports that people tested on neuropsychological tests in the summer and fall outperformed people tested in the winter and spring. The ebb and flow of scores tracked with levels of Aβ in people’s cerebrospinal fluid, as well as with expression of certain sets of genes in their brains. Importantly, the study was not longitudinal, but cross-sectional, i.e., different sets of people took the test in the different seasons. Still, the findings at least hint at a potential source of noise in clinical trials, said lead author Andrew Lim, University of Toronto, who conducted the study with senior author Philip De Jager, Columbia University, New York.

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