A new scientific study revealed that air pollution plays a role in mental illness, but how?
A research team from the United States and Denmark examined the relationship between air pollution and its potential effects on the prevalence of mental illness.
In areas with poor air quality, the researchers, under the supervision of Ativ Khan and Andrey Reshetski of the University of Chicago, have monitored the increase in bipolar disorders (episodes that fluctuate between excessive depression and rejoicing) and other diseases.
The researchers in the study, published in the journal "Biology", said they relied on data from health insurance companies covering 151 million people, and focused on the prevalence of four psychiatric diseases, namely bipolar disorder, severe depression, personality disorder and schizophrenia, in addition to Patients with epilepsy and Parkinson's.
The researchers compared health data with air quality in neighborhoods where the data live, based on weather data based on data from the US Environmental Agency, and concluded that through this analysis, the number of people suffering from one of the cases of severe depression increases by 6% in areas with the worst air quality, Compared to areas with better air. Indeed, the risk of bipolar disorder increased by 27% in areas with the worst air.
In the second part of the study, the researchers carefully analyzed a therapeutic and environmental record in Denmark of 1.4 million people born in Denmark between 1979 and late 2002. The analysis showed that the incidence of severe depression rose in areas with higher air pollution rates 50%, compared to the inhabitants of better air areas.
Researchers also found that the number of other psychiatric diseases in Denmark increased by 162%, schizophrenia increased by 148%, and the risk of bipolar disorder increased by 24%, similar to the increase in the United States. .
John Ioannidis of Stanford University in California criticized what he called "tremendous shortcomings in the study."
The data in the United States part of the study were collected between 2000 and 2005, while the diagnosis of diseases believed to be the result of those data was from 2003 to 2013, he said.
Despite this criticism, Thilo Kircher of the German University of Marburg psychiatric hospital, considered the study an important contribution to medical research, and said he hoped this study will be the beginning of new studies in this area. The German expert believed that the strength of the study lies in the enormous volume of data that the study authors relied on their analysis.
The results of the study are logical, but surprising at the fact that the analysis of US data shows only a clear link between bipolar disorder and air pollution. He pointed to the results of previous studies of animal experiments that concluded that dust and exhaust can cause inflammation in the brain.