Air and sound pollution during infancy may worsen teens' mental health


By AGENCY
  • Family
  • Thursday, 11 Jul 2024

Researchers have found growing evidence linking air pollution exposure with various psychiatric disorders, and say air pollution early in life may be linked to mental health problems in teens. — Photos: dpa

AIR pollution and excessive noise could leave babies vulnerable to mental health struggles when they hit their teenage years, new research has shown.

Researchers led by Joanne Newbury of the University of Bristol found “early-life air and noise pollution exposure,” including before birth, to be “prospectively associated” with “psychotic experiences, depression, and anxiety” among adolescents and young adults.

The findings were published by the American Medical Association and have prompted the researchers to suggest that “interventions to reduce air and noise pollution exposure could potentially improve population mental health” and mention so-called “clean air zones” as a possible option for policymakers and urban planners.

Researchers suggest that 'interventions to reduce air and noise pollution exposure could potentially improve population mental health'.Researchers suggest that 'interventions to reduce air and noise pollution exposure could potentially improve population mental health'.

The team said although there is “growing evidence” linking air pollution exposure with “various psychiatric disorders,” the connection between “early-life” and prenatal air pollution and mental health later in life remained “poorly understood.”

“Air pollution could negatively affect mental health via numerous pathways, including by compromising the blood-brain barrier, promoting neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, and directly entering the brain and damaging tissue therein,” the researchers warned in their paper.

The team, which included doctors and scientists from University College London, King’s College London and the University of Cardiff, examined data covering 14,000 people born in the UK between 1991 and 1993 who were “subsequently followed up into adulthood.” – dpa

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