Monday December 9, 2019

Air Pollution Raises Anxiety, Depression Risks in Kids, Says Study

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure

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rahul gandhi, environment
A recent report had said that 22 of the world's 30 worst cities for air pollution are in India, with Delhi again ranking as the world's most polluted capital. VOA

A new evidence suggests air pollution is not just associated with asthma and respiratory diseases, but may also impact metabolic and neurological development of children, putting them at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, says a study.

“Recent evidence suggests the central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, suggesting a role in etiology of mental disorders, like anxiety or depression,” said study lead author Kelly Brunst, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

“This is the first study to use neuro-imaging to evaluate exposure to traffic-related air pollution, metabolite dysregulation in brain and generalised anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children,” Brunst said.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, the researchers evaluated imaging of 145 children at an average age of 12 years, looking specifically at levels of myo-inositol in brain through a specialised MRI technique, magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

Myo-inositol is a naturally-occurring metabolite, mainly found in specialised brain cells known as glial cells, which assists in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance in brain and serves as a regulator for hormones and insulin in the body. Rise in myo-inositol levels correlate with increased population of glial cells, which often occurs in states of inflammation.

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure, researchers said.

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They also observed rise in myo-inositol to be associated with more generalised anxiety symptoms. “In the higher, recent exposure group, we saw a 12 per cent increase in anxiety symptoms,” said Brunst.

Brunst, however, noted that the observed increase in reported generalised anxiety symptoms in this cohort of typically developing children was relatively small and were not likely to result in a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. (IANS)

Next Story

Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

Deep
Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)