Air pollution appears to increase the risk of depression in elderly women

In March 2020 researchers from Germany and the USA published the results of their study to assess the association between air pollution exposure and a diagnosis and symptoms of depression in the elderly. A total of 821 elderly women were involved in the study. Information on symptoms of depression was self-reported and evaluated whilst levels of cognition were assessed. The long-term levels of air pollution, in the form of particulate matter size and nitrogen oxide, which the individual had been exposed to was assessed using home addresses. Results showed that a diagnosis of depression was significantly associated with levels of course and fine particles plus nitrogen oxide. This association was stronger in women who were already experiencing cognitive decline when compared to women with normal cognition. In addition, it was found that living less than 100 m from a major road was significantly associated with both a diagnosis and symptoms of depression.

Altug H et al. Air pollution is associated with depressive symptoms in elderly women with cognitive impairment. Environ Int. 2020 Mar;136:105448

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