Air pollution may increase depression risk, study shows

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In a study from Harvard University, scientists found there are harmful associations between long-term exposure to air pollution and an increased risk for late-life depression.

Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed.

In general‚ about 1 out of every 6 adults will have depression at some time in their life. Depression affects about 16 million American adults every year.

Anyone can get depressed, and depression can happen at any age and in any type of person.

The exact cause of depression is unknown. It may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

The team conducted a population-based longitudinal cohort study involving U.S. Medicare enrollees aged older than 64 years.

A total of 8,907,422 people were followed during 2005 to 2016.

The researchers found that based on a tripollutant model, each 5-unit increase in long-term mean exposure to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone was linked to increases  in depression risk.

Among subpopulations, the team found effect size heterogeneity by comorbidity condition and neighborhood contextual backgrounds.

The team says they hope this study can inspire researchers to further consider possible environmental risk factors (such as air pollution and living environment) for the prevention of geriatric depression, to understand the disease better moving forward, and to improve the delivery of mental health care services among older adults.

If you care about depression, please read studies that a walk in the woods may reduce anxiety and depression, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about the key to depression recovery, and these antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

The study was conducted by Xinye Qiu et al and published in JAMA Network Open.

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