The Effect of Ambient Temperature on Mental Health

Marvin Bundo, University of Bern

Background: Climate change and global mental health epidemic are two of the greatest challenges of our time with profound financial and human impact. Evidence suggests that increased temperatures are associated with a higher risk of mental and behavioral disorders morbidity and mortality. Mental health problems could further increase in the future due to the increasing and accelerating global warming. Furthermore, evidence on the potential mechanisms or factors mediating this association is limited.

Objectives: The objectives of this study are: 1. to evaluate the short-term association between ambient temperatures and mental-disorder hospitalizations in Bern, Switzerland; 2. to assess the association between ambient temperature and mood in the sub-sample of CoLaus|PsyCoLaus participants; 3. to assess the association between ambient temperature and cognitive function and to evaluate whether specific genes modify this association in elderly from CoLaus|PsyCoLaus study.

Expected results: Psychiatric temperature-related outcomes have been shown to be region-specific. Therefore, the first study will assess the association between ambient temperature and psychiatric hospitalizations in Bern (Switzerland). There is little evidence in the literature for the possible mechanism of how ambient temperatures increase mental health morbidity. Therefore, I will further investigate the association between temperature and daily mood. In a third step, the impact of ambient temperature on the cognition of the elderly will be assessed for the first time using tests sensitive to mild cognition impairment. The research results will support the development of health policies that address the needs of the general population, mental health patients or groups susceptible to climatic changes such as the elderly. They also pave the way for further studies investigating the role of climatic and environmental change on mental health.

Keywords: ambient temperature, climate change, mental health, cognition, mood, epigenetics

Short Biography

Marvin Bundo was trained as a medical doctor at the Medical University of Tirana. In 2015, he was awarded an ERAWEB scholarship which allowed him to complete a Master in Health Sciences at the University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT), Austria. At UMIT he worked for four years as a researcher. Marvin Bundo is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) in Bern where he is involved in two research groups: “Cardiometabolic Health” and “Climate Change and Health”. His research is focused on assessing the impact of environmental factors on mental health.

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