Air pollution is affecting our physical health. This has been known to everyone till now. Now researchers have discovered from a new study that it also affects our mental health. The study shows that children exposed to high levels of air pollution are at higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
Psychotic bipolar and depressive disorders are more commonly seen in mental illnesses. Catatonia patients may be seen to have excessive and low motor activity. Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness that negatively affects a person’s thinking, feeling and behaviour. A combined study of pollution data by the Department of Environmental Sciences and genetic data by IPSYCH shows that the higher the level of pollution, the higher the risk of schizophrenia.
Causes of schizophrenia
Genetics- In a family with a history of schizophrenia, there is a high risk of suffering from this disease.
Viral infection – Some studies suggest that children are more likely to develop schizophrenia due to viral infection.
Fetal malnutrition – If the fetus suffers from malnutrition during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of schizophrenia developing.
Stress during early life – There is a risk of developing a type of dementia due to severe early life stress.
Age of parents at birth – Children of older parents are more likely to get this disease.
Increasing the air pollution density by 10 mg per cubic meter daily increases the risk of schizophrenia by approximately 20%. Henriette Thisted Horsdal, Senior Researcher for this study, said, “Children living in an air pollution environment of more than 25 milligrams per cubic meter per day are more likely to have 60 per cent of schizophrenia.” The study is published in the journal JAMA Network Open Science. Researchers based on these data said that the risk of schizophrenia in a person’s life is about 2%.
This means that there is a possibility of this happening in two out of every 100. Those prone to the lowest levels of air pollution are at risk of schizophrenia by up to 2%, while those exposed to the highest levels of air pollution are at risk of schizophrenia by up to 3%. This is the first research of its kind, in which a joint study of air pollution and genetic relationships has been done to find out the dangers of schizophrenia. Researcher Henriette explains, “If you are more likely to be genetically ill, the risk of schizophrenia is also high.”
The study was conducted on a total of 23,355 people with 3,531 schizophrenia. However, the results showed that children exposed to high levels of air pollution in childhood had a higher risk of schizophrenia, but the researchers did not comment on the cause. Instead, he insisted on further research to explore these reasons.