Researchers warn that air pollution can aggravate mental health issues

Researchers warn that air pollution can aggravate mental health issues


In addition, air pollution, which is a contributor to climate change, can affect our mental wellbeing. According to a brand new research study by King’s College London, increased utilization of health care services and excessive exposure to pollutants, specifically in individuals with dementia,

“Based upon solid evidence based on data from the actual world, air pollution can have an effect not only on our physical health but also our mental wellbeing, says researcher and doctor Amy Ronaldson, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience of King’s College London.

Dr. Ronaldson co-leads with her co-author, Ioannis Bakolis, Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, an investigation that confirms “that pollution can increase the intensity of use of mental healthcare services” and triggers a medical need in their diminution, says Dr. Ronaldson.

Nearly 5,000 individuals have been diagnosed as having dementia and live in the south of London, famous for its pollution levels, which is the basis of the research “Pollution exposure can lead to an increase in psychiatric care for those who suffer from dementia” for more than 9 years.

The results: pollution exposure increases utilization of these resources. Those who do not have a preexisting health condition are 27 percent more likely to require assistance. Likewise, people with Alzheimer’s or dementia are 38 percent more likely to need assistance.

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The unseen menace

Its harmfulness as well as its invisibility cause this to disappear in the background: “We can call pollution the silent killer because there is nothing that you see,” states Balokis.

The United Nations (UN) defines it as “the most significant threat to the global public,” according to estimates. It leads to seven million premature deaths per year across the globe.

The study identifies the presence of nitrogen dioxide as well as suspended particles as the primary pathogens, which are daily traffic sources,  factories, or even activities at home.

“Recent studies suggest that small particles of air could get to the brain via the nose.” Says Professor Bakolis.

“There are direct consequences of brain pollution in addition to indirect effects that can influence it through hindering or harming our health in general,” research says.

The most common instance is vascular dementia, “caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain as a result of the impact of air pollution in the heart.” Dr. Xavier explains.

Reduce the pressure to take a breath.

“The currently high amount of pollution from the air is not affordable and has a huge impact on health and the economy, which has a huge social impact,” warns Dr. Bakalis.

The findings of this study can be applied to other large cities, like London, Milan, or Madrid, where the levels of contamination are higher than the typical levels suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 5 mg/m3 of PM2.5 particles suspended. Such as soot, dust, and other metals.

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“If we discover methods to cut down on pollution and improve air quality suggested by European authorities, naturally it will have an impact on the health care system and the public’s health.” according to the scholar.

Bakalis and Ronaldson offer different models of interventions to address this problem on the urban scale: the creation of “ultra low emission zones” and mental health professional training on its effects, in addition to the use of natural remedies or keeping homes and health facilities far from urban noise.

“What we’re trying to encourage is the fact that pollution can have adverse effects on our mental health,” claims researcher Ronaldson. And according to Bakalis, “there is no wellbeing without psychological health.”

“This is a matter that affects all of society. It is essential to reach a consensus about how we can protect the air we breathe in our communities and build a better environment for our children in the near future,” Bakolis concludes.