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May 22, 2019
7:21PM

Air Pollution linked to childhood anxiety and depression

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A study has found that exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution, TRAP can alter brain chemicals in children, increasing the risk of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Exposure to air pollution is a well-established global health problem associated with complications for people with asthma and respiratory disease, as well as heart conditions and an increased risk of stroke.

According to the World Health Organization, pollution is responsible for millions of deaths annually.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in the US, studied the correlation between exposure to TRAP and childhood anxiety, by looking at the altered neurochemistry in pre-adolescents.

Kelly Brunst, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati has said, recent evidence suggests the central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, suggesting a role in the etiology of mental disorders, like anxiety or depression.

The researchers evaluated imaging of 145 children at an average age of 12 years, looking specifically at the levels of myo-inositol found in the brain through a specialised MRI technique, magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Myo-inositol is a naturally-occurring metabolite mainly found in specialised brain cells known as glial cells, that assists with maintaining cell volume and fluid balance in the brain, and serves as a regulator for hormones and insulin in the body.
 

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