Air Pollution and Mental Health

New studies have been published indicating there may be a link to air pollution and poor mental health. It is crucial to look deeper into this issue, especially since there is still a lot to understand about how pollutants may affect our brains.

The Findings of The Latest Studies

One study took data from over 1 million Danish citizens and a stunning 150 million further from the United States. Within their findings, the researchers found definite links to insufficient air quality and problems such as bipolar disorder, personality disorders, severe depression, and even schizophrenia. The final theory is that there is a definite link, but the exact nature of it was not nailed down.

How Strong Are the Links Thus Far?

The researchers reviewed claims for United States health insurance customers and noticed that air quality was one of the most common factors associated with those that had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Other findings in the United Kingdom have found links to polluted air and psychotic experiences among teenagers.  Local air quality in Sweden has also shown to cause a variety of problems among children.

Is the Evidence Really Supported?

Scientists working within relevant fields only have limited access to the studies thus far. Even though the links are undeniable at this point, more data will be needed in order to understand the full scope of the issue. For instance, city-wide studies that account for how the overall populous is affected are still in development, as is research that will show how one neighborhood may vary from the next. The studies from the United States are among the most detailed thus far; they have gone as far as gathering data from several different counties within specific cities.  

What Else May Be Causing Mental Health Issues?

Study participants have made attempts to include other factors wherever possible. For instance, income, ethnicity, and even population density are all important to consider. Traffic noise is a common problem that may link pollution and health issues quite closely. With more pollution in the air within a city, sound will be able to travel more easily and disrupt sleep cycles. This in turn will open a wide variety of citizens to all the poor mental conditions that tend to come in the wake of sleep deprivation.

Should the Ties Between Air Pollution and Mental Health Be Taken Seriously?

As mentioned above, the research gives us a good idea of the severity of the issue, but it is not complete. Even so, most scientists looking into the issue agree that there is cause for concern.

Having conclusive evidence that there is indeed some tie between mental health issues and air pollution could ultimately lead to more healthcare options in the future. In some communities where pollution is particularly grave, it is already being covered to a greater degree. It is fair to assume that more treatment options will also become available as we understand the matter even further.

Does Pollution Really Cause Issues in The Brain?

Small pollutants have been proven to pass through the barrier between the brain and the bloodstream. If this occurs, detrimental effects may follow. Some of the risks that researchers have already learned about include feelings of intense stress and physical inflammation.

Imbalances in the chemicals of the brain are also possible. This sounds quite scary, and the potential possibilities certainly are concerning. That said, this is an area in which significant more study will need to take place over the course of the next few years and perhaps even decades. 

What Will Be Done to Secure Better Results?

More studies are underway, with scientists and health care professionals both looking into the link between mental health issues and air pollution. You can expect at least 5 to 10 more years of extensive research if not more.  There are 2 key things that must be addressed regarding this. As the studies go on, we will receive a more detailed view of how pollution will affect the brain over greater stretches of time, as well as what we can do to mitigate the problem.