Saturday August 24, 2019

City Upbringing Without Pets May Increases Risk of Mental Illness

Pet-free city upbringing raises mental illness risk: Study

0
//
Allergies
People raised in cities without pets at risk from mental illness. Pixabay

Children raised without pets in an urban setting are more vulnerable to mental illness than those raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, says a new study.

Kids raised in rural settings may grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and might be at lower risk of mental illness, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study adds to mounting evidence supporting the “hygiene hypothesis,” which posits that overly sterile environments can lead to health problems.

The research also suggests that raising kids around pets might be good for mental health.

“It has already been very well documented that exposure to pets and rural environments during development is beneficial in terms of reducing risk of asthma and allergies later in life,” said study co-author, Christopher Lowry, Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“This study moves the conversation forward by showing for the first time in humans that these same exposures are likely to be important for mental health,” Lowry added.

For the study, led by Professor Stefan Reber of the University of Ulm in Germany, the scientists recruited a small group of healthy German men between ages 20 and 40. Half had grown up on a farm with farm animals. Half had grown up in a large city without pets.

On test day, all were asked to give a speech in front of a group of stone-faced observers and then asked to solve a difficult math problem while being timed.

Blood and saliva were taken five minutes before and five, 15, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after the test.

“People who grew up in an urban environment had a much-exaggerated induction of the inflammatory immune response to the stressor, and it persisted throughout the two-hour period,” Lowry said.

Also Read: Check out Instagram Profiles of Paw-some Indian Celebrity Pets!

Previous studies have shown that those with an exaggerated inflammatory response are more likely to develop depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life.

Research has also shown that our immunoregulatory response to stress develops in early life and is shaped largely by our microbial environment.

More than 50 per cent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, meaning humans are exposed to far fewer micro-organisms than they evolved with, the authors noted.

“If you are not exposed to these types of organisms, then your immune system doesn’t develop a balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory forces, and you can develop a chronic, low-grade inflammation and exaggerated immune reactivity that makes you vulnerable to allergy, autoimmune disease and, we propose, psychiatric disorders,” Lowry said.  IANS

Next Story

Yoga Can Help You Cope with Mental Illness, Say Experts

Parental disharmony, peer pressure and examination stress can trigger off depression in children

0

Mental illness in city dwellers which has emerged as a major problem can be treated to an extent through yoga, say experts.

Though mental illness, as such, cannot be directly treated through yoga, stress, which one of the major causes, said mental health expert Prakriti Poddar in a telephonic interview.

“Stress is one of the major factors that leads to depression and you can deal with stress through yoga. You can learn to calm your responses by extending your reaction time, thereby giving you better control on your emotional reactivity,” she said.

She said that Yoga asanas like Surya Namaskar, Warrior Pose, Tad Asana, Trikonasana and Pranayam could help a person cope with depression and stress.

“Depression is one of the major diseases of the developed world and it is triggered off by one’s inability to cope with stress – emotional and physical. Yoga helps you to calm your nerves, increase your mental strength and help you deal with situations,” she explained.

Poddar said that migration of work force from rural to urban areas also triggered depression. She said that there are studies on stress due to different kind of struggles one has to face due to the migration. This includes financial, emotional and physical stress.

“Often situational stress assists it, as people move from a robust support system to a limited one. Loneliness steps in as the sense of belonging depletes,” she stated.

girl practicing yoga
Girl practicing yoga. Pixabay

She further said that most companies are now incorporating a well-being programme to provide a holistic approach towards the well being of employees.

“Yoga has become a part of corporate wellness programs and has huge benefits for the employees as it lowers stress levels, relaxes the mind, makes the body flexible and invites an overall feeling of well-being. This improves the performance of the employee and promotes a sense of friendship,” she said.

Children can also be taught yoga form a young age to help them cope with pressures, personal and professional, when they attain adulthood.

Also Read- Experts Suggest How You can Keep Your Children Safe from Sun in Summer

According to various studies, around 14 per cent of the global burden of disease is attributed to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Mental health literacy among adolescents is very low and only 29 per cent could identify depression while others remained unaware of the problem.

Parental disharmony, peer pressure and examination stress can trigger off depression in children. (IANS)