Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Does Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter Cause Anxiety in Older Women?

High Anxiety
High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: observational cohort study (9 page pdf, Melinda C Power, Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, Jaime E Hart, Olivia I Okereke, Francine Laden, Marc G Weisskopf, British Medical Journal, Mar. 24, 2015) 

Also discussed here: Air pollution may be related to anxiety levels in women: study (Kathryn Doyle, Toronto Globe and Mail, Apr. 1, 2015) 

Today we review research into the impact of exposure to PM2.5 had on anxiety for a large group of older women (mean age 70) over various periods of exposure. Anxiety disorders affect 16% of people worldwide over their lives and 11% have suffered from it in the last year. Results indicate a clear link with 12% more of those exposed to fine particulates showing high anxiety symptoms than those who were not so exposed. Also those who live between 50 and 200 m of busy roadways with traffic-related air pollution were more likely to show these symptoms than those who live farther away. Exposure to larger sized particulates (such as PM10) and exposure within 50 m of roadways did not show greater anxiety symptoms. Because of the people sampled in this study, it is not possible to extend these results to younger women or to men although there is evidence of pollution-stress links for the latter group.

Key Quotes: 

“Globally, approximately 16% of people will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime and 11% will have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year…In 2010, anxiety disorders accounted for approximately 26.8 million disability adjusted life years worldwide”

“Women have a higher prevalence of anxiety disorders than men and the onset for most anxiety disorders is commonly in adolescence or young adulthood.” 

 “Among the nurses who responded to the questionnaire, 15% experienced high levels of the following symptoms:
  • Fearfulness
  • Desire for avoidance
  • Tendency to worry.”
“women who were exposed to the most small particles in the air one month before their anxiety test were about 12 per cent more likely to have high anxiety symptoms than those not exposed to these particles one month previously.”

"Nurses who lived 50 to 200 m from the nearest major road were more likely to have increased Crown-Crisp index phobic anxiety scale scores than those living >200 m away”

“Our data support an association between exposure to particulate matter of <2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) but not 2.5 to 10 μm in diameter (PM2.5–10) or proximity to roadways, and high symptoms of anxiety. The association between PM2.5 and high anxiety seems primarily driven by a relation with shorter term average exposures to PM2.5”

“it is possible that reductions in exposure to PM2.5, through changes to regulations or individual behavior, may help reduce anxiety symptoms”

"Since air pollution causes systemic inflammation, it is reasonable that researchers have now turned to the arena of mental health, a leading priority for research given the relative absence of known modifiable risk factors and a high and growing disease burden,"

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