Study: Air pollution affects mental health in children

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Al-Shaimaa Ahmed Farouk


Published in :
Tuesday 10 March 2020 – 10:39 AM
| Last updated :
Tuesday 10 March 2020 – 10:39 AM

An increasing number of studies indicate a link between exposure to air pollution and mental health disorders across different age groups. To date, research has mainly focused on the effects of air pollution among adults, and the website Psychology Today published a report on the latest studies conducted in this context.

These are two new studies by scientists from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The first study analyzed data on more than 6,800 children, during 13,176 visits to the Emergency Psychiatric Department, over a period of 5 years, and found that short-term exposure to air pollution increased mental disorders in children between one to two days.

“This study is the first to show a relationship between daily levels of air pollution and increased symptoms of mental disorders, such as anxiety and suicide, in children, more research is needed to confirm These results, but they may lead to new preventive strategies for children with symptoms associated with mental disorder.

The study found that the worst outcomes were among children living in disadvantaged and extremely poor neighborhoods, especially with regard to anxiety and suicide disorders.

Dr. Brockman added in a press statement: “The fact that children living in high-poverty neighborhoods have suffered from greater health effects of air pollution can mean that pollutants and the pressures of these neighborhoods, can have synergistic effects on the severity and frequency of psychological symptoms.”

Another study confirmed a relationship between exposure to high traffic-related air pollution and children’s mental health, using neuroimaging techniques, the researchers tracked a link between dust, brain metabolic disorders, and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in healthy children, the main cause of the relationship, which indicated Mechanism of the results of neuroimaging, is the inflammatory brain response to air pollution.

Early exposure to dust was linked to self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression in 12-year-olds, because these results are self-reported, they are less reliable than those from other studies, but they still add to a comprehensive assessment of how pollution affects Air on children’s mental health.

“These studies contribute to a growing body of evidence that exposure to air pollution during early life and childhood may contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems in adolescence,” said Patrick Ryan, co-author of the study.



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