Depressed? Maybe It’s in the Air

written by Elise Miller, MEd
CHE Director

Elise MillerWhen I spoke with a colleague earlier this week, she said, “Just breathing this air makes me depressed.” She lives in an urban area where high temperatures and heavy smog are the norm at this time of year. I don’t think she meant she was clinically depressed, but her remark may have some physiological truth in it.

Until just recently, most of the research on air pollution has looked at associations with respiratory concerns. Just last week CHE hosted a call on air pollution and asthma [see: Breathing Deep: Air Pollution, Health, and Public Health Policy]. But more recently studies have found links to other health outcomes—including cardiovascular disease, diabetes/obesity, cognitive function, and yes, mental illness.

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