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How Extreme Heat Impacts Your Brain and Mental Health

When the temperature spikes, so too do suicide rates, crime, and violence. Twitter sees hate tweets and online aggression increase during heatwaves, along with phrasing that researchers have linked to anxiety and depression. Our very language captures the confluence of heat and emotion—when we are annoyed, we get “hot under the collar”; when we are angry our “blood boils;” and when something gets to be too much, we have to “let off steam.” Spike Lee’s seminal exploration of racial tension in 1989’s Do The Right Thing unfolds during the hottest day of the year, when scorching temperatures stoke violent reactions. Doctors and scientists are now starting to unravel the complex interplay between extreme heat and poor mental health outcomes…

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