Environmental neurology in the tropics

J. Reis, P. S. Spencer, G. C. Román, A. Buguet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We address the impact of the tropical environment on the human nervous system using the multifaceted approach characteristic of environmental neurology. First, environmental factors are examined according to their nature (physical, chemical and biological) and in relation to human activity and behavior. Some factors are specific to the tropics (climate and infections), while others are non-specific (chemicals, human communities and their way of life). Second, we examine the major role of human adaptation to the success of Homo sapiens, with emphasis on the linkage between thermoregulation and sleep-wake regulation. Third, we examine the performance of environmental neurology as a clinical discipline in tropical climates, with focus on the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges posed by human African trypanosomiasis. Finally, the prevention, early detection and monitoring of environmental neurological diseases is examined, as well as links with political and economic factors. In conclusion, practitioners of environmental neurology seek a global, multidisciplinary and holistic approach to understanding, preventing and treating neurological disorders within their purview. Environmental neurology integrates an expanded One Health concept by linking health and wellness to the interaction of plants, animals, humans and the ecosystem. Recent epidemics and the current COVID-19 pandemic exemplify the need for worldwide action to protect human health and biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117287
Pages (from-to)117287
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021


  • Adaptation
  • African sleeping sickness
  • Cuban optic-neuropathy epidemic
  • Infections
  • Toxins
  • Tropical climate
  • Nervous System Diseases/epidemiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation/physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurology/methods
  • Tropical Climate/adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Environmental Medicine/methods
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Exposure/adverse effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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