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July 1, 2014

Autism & Mental Health Problems related to exposure of pollution

A study recently  released by University of Rochester researchers indicates that air pollution exposure may have a negative impact on mental health and could possibly play a role in schizophrenia and autism. The university’s study was published in the journalEnvironmental Health Perspectives.

The researchers found that air pollution causes inflammation in the brains of newly born mice, which damages the development of “white matter.”  The same parts of the brain are known to be affected in humans exhibiting autism and schizophrenia traits.

The university researchers say that when mice are exposed to extra fine particle air pollution in the first few weeks of life, they developed neurological abnormalities similar to those seen in humans with the two health disorders. The abnormalities were mostly found in male mice, which also corresponds to the high numbers of men and boys diagnosed with both schizophrenia and autism.

The research concurs with a  2013 study published in JAMA Psychiatry that also drew a link between air pollution and autism. That study, by researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California, found that children who lived in areas with high levels of traffic pollution were three times more likely to be diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder.

But the University of Rochester research is the first to link more mental-health disorders to air pollution.Health-effects-of-pollution

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