Adolescent psychotic experiences linked to air pollution

The adverse impact of air pollution on heart and lungs are well established. Air pollution has now emerged as a major environmental risk factor for health.

Here is another adverse impact of air pollution.

A study of more than 2000 UK-born children says that adolescents exposed to high levels of outdoor air pollution were more likely to report psychotic experiences; though, this is not a cause and effect association.

In the study published online March 27, 2019 in JAMA Psychiatry, a total of 623 (30%) of the adolescents reported at least one psychotic experience between ages 12 and 18.

Adolscents exposed to top-quartile levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5) had 71%, 72% and 45% greater odds, respectively, of psychotic experiences compared with those exposed to the lowest-quartile levels.

Urbanicity is a well-established risk factor for clinical (e.g, schizophrenia) and subclinical (e.g, hearing voices and paranoia) expressions of psychosis.

Taken together, NO2 and NOx explained 60% of the association between urbanicity (urban residency) and adolescent psychotic experiences. According to the authors, this observation could partly be the answer for the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences.

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