Exposure to Air Pollution During Childhood Increases the Risk of Schizophrenia

Researchers say that children who grow up at least 10 years in areas with highly polluted air have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. The role of genetics, a known risk factor, should be discarded.

Depressed Person

In children and adults, exposure to air pollution can affect their health in the short and long term. In this context, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns primarily against the risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke,  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute infections of the lower respiratory tract or lung cancer. But on World Environment Day 2019, WHO experts said that new evidence points to other effects, such as diabetes, neurodegenerative problems in children and neurodegenerative diseases in adults.

A new study by researchers from the University of Aarhus (Denmark), published in the scientific journal JAMA Network Open, once again shows that air pollution affects not only physical health, but also mental health. The latter, which combines genetic data with data on air pollution, shows that children exposed to high levels of air pollution during their growth years have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia a psychiatric condition characterized by a series of highly variable symptoms, the most notable of which are delusions and hallucinations.

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