Air pollution exposure may enhance depression risk. A recent study shows that exposure to air pollution can cause cognitive deficits and risk of depression in healthy individuals.
The study results revealed how air pollutants impact brain networks to cause changes in cognitive function and enhance the risk of depression.
The research found that exposure to air pollutants was associated with the activation of brain networks expressing depression-associated genes. It also shows that exposure to air pollution may cause adverse mental health effects related to genetic mechanisms of depression.
A recent study investigated the effects of PM2.5, fine particulate matter, which consists of tiny inhalable particles smaller than 2.5 microns. These particles usually come from industrial sources and vehicles.
The study looked at the effects of PM2.5 on brain networks involved in cognition and social stress.
It also found that PM2.5 exposure was linked with poor performance on cognitive tests involving reasoning and problem-solving.
The research shows that PM2.5 exposure may interact with depression-associated genes to increase the risk of depression.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Armed with this knowledge, leaders and public health officials around the globe have ample evidence that additional air pollution controls will lead to lower rates of depression — particularly in densely populated urban areas where air pollution is highest, and stress from socioeconomic and other inequities are greater,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Hao Yang Tan said.