Anxiety Symptoms Raised by Air Pollution

Melinda C Power, ScD Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Epidemiology Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Neurology Department, Johns Hopkins School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Melinda C Power, ScD
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Epidemiology Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Neurology Department, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Power: Air pollution may be related to mental health, particularly anxiety, through effects on oxidative stress and systemic inflammation or through promotion or aggravation of chronic diseases.  However, there has been very little research on the relation between air pollution exposures and anxiety in people.   Our study found that those with higher exposures to fine particulate matter, a type of air pollution, were more likely to experience elevated anxiety symptom levels.  Our study also suggests that recent exposures to find particulate matter air pollution are potentially more relevant to anxiety symptom levels than long-term past exposures.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Power: Everyday exposures to toxicants and pollutants may play a role in mental health.  Further research is needed to confirm our findings and to further explore this possibility.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Power: We hope that our findings will be replicated in other settings.  If our results are confirmed, we would recommend additional research on whether reductions in exposure to ambient fine particulate matter air pollution would have a meaningful impact on the population-level burden of anxiety.

Citation:

The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: observational cohort study

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1111 (Published 24 March 2015)

 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:,  Melinda C Power, ScD (2015). Anxiety Symptoms Raised by Air Pollution