429 Air Pollution & Schizophrenia

Research by Horsdal, Henriette T., Agerbo, E., Mcgrath, J. J., Vilhjálmsson, B. J., Antonsen, S., Closter, A. M., . . . Pedersen, Carsten B., et al. (2019).

Written by Robin N. Fatovic B.S.

Do mental disorders develop from our genes or from our environment, or both?

Studies suggest that NO2 or Nitrogen dioxide,exposure in childhood leads to higher risk of schizophrenia. Vehicles typically produce NO2. Denmark Researchers assessed the level of NO2 exposure from the national registry for about 24,000 individuals. Over 3,500 people in that group received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The researchers also assessed the participants’ genes to identify any genetic links to their diagnosis.

Results? Diagnoses of schizophrenia were associated with both participants’ genetic makeup and NO2 exposure. The researchers suggest that multiple genes may contribute to schizophrenia. When people share more of those genes, they are more likely to develop schizophrenia. These results also suggest that higher NO2 exposure, which more likely occurs in urban settings with polluted air, may have an impact on the developing brain.

This, one of many studies, suggests that both our genes and environment may have an impact on us! Let’s all reduce our carbon footprints, use less carbon fossil fuels. Prevent your and your children’s exposure to harmful air pollutants. Monitor the air quality in your area. Spend time in nature!


Horsdal, H. T., Agerbo, E., Mcgrath, J. J., Vilhjálmsson, B. J., Antonsen, S.. . . Pedersen, C. B., et al. Carsten Bøcker (2019). Association of Childhood Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide and Polygenic Risk Score for Schizophrenia With the Risk of Developing Schizophrenia. JAMA Network Open,2(11). doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.14401

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