CHILDREN should wear a sun hat while playing outside as the heat “could damage their brain function”, new research has found.
Temperatures are set to soar across the UK this week and scientists have now revealed that prolonged exposure of the head to the sun hinders the brain’s performance.
While parents are encouraged to make sure their kids are protected in the sun by using sunscreen and keeping them in the shade, the new research suggests children’s brains could also be at risk.
University teams in Denmark and Greece conducted research on eight healthy males aged between 27 and 41.
The participants were given four different computer-based maths and logic tasks.
Each relied on precise calculations and while they were working out the answers, four heat lamps were positioned at the tops of their heads, on their lower body and back.
The study, published in the Scientific Reports journal looked at adult men rather than children.
However children’s heads are typically softer than their older adult counterparts, which means they would need more protection in the sun – not only to prevent them from getting sunburn or sunstroke, but also to protect their brains.
Spending prolonged periods of time in hot temperatures can lead to physical exhaustion and researchers said those who are exposed to sunlight for long periods of time should cover their heads.
Professor Lars Nybo from the University of Copenhagen said that the study proves that direct sunlight exposure “impairs motor and cognitive performance”.
He said the reduction in cognitive performance was observed at 38.5C.
Most read in Health News
WORCS TO COME?
Leaked NHS email puts Worcester on red alert for next Covid hotspot
Dad, his 2 kids and dog killed on Father's Day stroll 'by drink driver'
UK corona death toll rises by 15 while new cases fall below 1,000 for 1st time
Brits may be forced to choose between grannies if 'social bubbles' limited
Coronavirus LIVE: Deaths at 42,652 as lockdown rules update due this week
BEER WE GO!
Pubs, restaurants & hotels 'to reopen from July 4' as scientists OK 2m rule cut
Previous research published in the International Journal of Hyperthermia has however shown that brain performance could also be impacted at just 30C.
Professor Andtreas Flouis from the FAME Laboratory in Greece said it is “of great importance” that people spending prolonged periods of time outside should protect their heads.
He also suggested that the dip in brain functionality could lead to road accidents as drivers could make more mistakes in the hot weather.
Commenting on the findings he added: “The ability to maintain concentration and avoid attenuation of motor-cognitive performance is certainly of relevance for work and traffic safety as well as for minimising the risks of making mistakes during other daily tasks.”