Air pollution has been linked to a number of health problems, including depression. Studies have shown that exposure to air pollution can have a negative impact on brain health and can lead to changes in brain function, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and alterations in neurotransmitter levels.
One theory is that air pollution can cause a systemic inflammatory response in the body, leading to increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood. These cytokines have been shown to play a role in depression and other mood disorders, as they can cause changes in the activity of certain brain regions that are involved in regulating mood.
A new study confirms that pollution could lead to a person dealing with depression at some point in life.
Depression could occur later in life due to air pollution
Air pollution can lead to an increased risk of developing depression later in life, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open and as CNN informs. The study, which looked at over 8.9 million people with Medicare insurance, found that more than 1.52 million were diagnosed with depression after age 64 during the period 2005 to 2016.
Dr. Xinye Qiu, one of the co-authors of the new study, stated as CNN quotes:
Late-life depression should be a geriatric issue that the public and researchers need to be paying more attention to, like on a similar level with Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions.
The researchers examined the exposure of study participants to three types of air pollution: fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. All three pollutants were associated with an increased risk of depression, even at lower pollution levels, with greater associations found between depression and particle pollution and nitrogen dioxide among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. This study highlights the importance of reducing air pollution levels in order to prevent the risk of depression.