Air Pollution may precipitate attacks of psychosis in teenagers: JAMA
Air pollution is known to have a negative impact on our physical well being causing millions of death worldwide. However, a recent study has shed light on its negative impact on our mental well-being as well. The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found that teenagers living in urban residency marred by air pollution are more likely to have psychotic experiences -- such as hearing voices or extreme paranoia.
Urbanicity is a well-established risk factor for clinical (eg, schizophrenia) and subclinical (eg, hearing voices and paranoia) expressions of psychosis. Still, no studies have examined the association of air pollution with adolescent psychotic experiences, despite air pollution is a major environmental problem in cities. Joanne B. Newbury, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted the study to examine the association between exposure to air pollution and adolescent psychotic experiences and test whether exposure mediates the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences.
The researchers studied 2232 children born during the period January 1, 1994, through December 4, 1995, in England and Wales and followed up from birth through 18 years of age. At 18 years of age, participants were privately interviewed regarding adolescent psychotic experiences. Urbanicity was estimated using 2011 census data.
The study took into account other potential causes of psychotic experiences, such as smoking, alcohol and cannabis use, family income and psychiatric history, and measures of neighbourhood deprivation.
Among the 2063 participants who provided data on psychotic experiences, sex was evenly distributed (52.5% female).
They found that:
- Six hundred twenty-three participants (30.2%) had at least 1 psychotic experience from 12 to 18 years of age.
- Psychotic experiences were significantly more common among adolescents with the highest level of annual exposure to NO2, NOx, and PM2.5.
- Together NO2 and NOx statistically explained 60% of the association between urbanicity and adolescent psychotic experiences.
- No evidence of confounding by family socioeconomic status, family psychiatric history, maternal psychosis, childhood psychotic symptoms, adolescent smoking and substance dependence, or neighbourhood socioeconomic status, crime, and social conditions occurred.
"In this study, air pollution exposure—particularly NO2 and NOx—was associated with increased odds of adolescent psychotic experiences, which partly explained the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences. Biological (eg, neuroinflammation) and psychosocial (eg, stress) mechanisms are plausible," concluded the authors.
For detailed study follow the link: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0056