Air pollution may be tied to Anxiety

Posted on April 1, 2015

Women who live in areas with higher air pollution may also have higher anxiety, according to a new analysis.

"It's a really interesting finding and definitely suggests that air pollution may be related to mental health," said lead author Melinda C. Power of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"If this is truly causal this is going to have a huge effect on the population because everyone is exposed, but we need more research to build this body of evidence," Power added.

The researchers used data on more than 70,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study who filled out an eight-question anxiety survey between ages 57 and 85.

Overall, about 15 percent of the women had high anxiety symptoms.

Using their previous home addresses from before they filled out the anxiety questionnaire, the researchers were able to estimate the women's exposure to so-called particulate matter in the air during the past 15 years, based on factors like distance to major roadways, population density, local sources of emissions and wind speeds.

The researchers found no link between anxiety levels and large air pollution particles, but exposure to fine particles was tied to increasing anxiety levels, according to results in BMJ. The more recent the exposure, the higher the level of anxiety tended to be.

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Category(s):Anxiety, Health / Illness / Medical Issues

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