Mix of stress and air pollution may lead to cognitive difficulties in children

25 · Mar · 2020
Photograph by: Regis Defurnaux

A recent study reveals that air pollution has negative impacts not only on physical health but also on mental health. David Paglakichio, PhD in Health Science and Assistant Clinic Neurobiology professor in the Columbia Psychiatry, says that when a fetus is exposed to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) – a nerve cell-damaging element commonly found in polluted air – there is an increased risk for the fetus to develop social stress and mental health problems in early childhood. A cohort study conducted by the Columbia Mailman Public Health School shows children who were exposed to both air pollution and early-life stress had both thought and attention issues. Results of the study examining the relationship between stress and air pollution for school aged children can be found here:  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

This cohort study was conducted in North Manhattan and the Bronx and monitored infants from the third trimester through the age 11. In order to measure the air pollutants, participating mothers wore backpacks with air quality control monitors every day during their third trimester. Additionally, the study collected notes on various  factors that caused stress on the children until the age of five. These factors include assault from close family member(s), neighborhood quality, depression, perceived stress, and stress from social life. The study continued to collect psychiatric symptoms reports from the children during the ages of 5, 7, 9, and 11.

The results show that significant early life stress and polluted environment negatively interfere with a child’s ability to concentrate and think creatively. Moreover, it is common for such children to be diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) as early as the age of 11.

Read the original: Mix of Stress and Air Pollution May Lead to Cognitive Difficulties in Children

Published on January 15, 2020 on Columbia Mailman School of Public Health  

Translated to Mongolian by Khulan Gantumur
Summarized by Miigaa Namsrai

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