Foggy Brain

Isabella Firmani, Writer

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Recent studies have lead various groups of researchers to question whether or not air pollution in urban places is linked to causing psychotic experiences in teenagers. Although many people are cautious about going outside after wildfires or when smog levels are high, kids who have spent their whole lives growing up in cities where air quality is poor seem to be developing new issues in their brains. 

A postdoctoral researcher from King’s College London, Joanne Newbury, and her team gathered data from students in England and Wales from the ages of five to 18 to see which age had been effected the most from air pollution psychologically. 

After interviewing each person about their experiences with hallucinations or hearing voices in their heads, “a total of 623 (or 30%) of the teens reported at least one psychotic experience between ages 12 and 18.”

Although scientists and doctors have been aware of the negative effects pollutants have on human lungs and cardiovascular health, this is a discovery many researchers have never looked into.

However, there is not yet enough evidence to link the two together, and MQ researcher Sophie Dix adds to the topic saying it is still too early in the research to stay anything for certain, as “there is more work that needs to be done with this study.” 

Junior Liora Hess adds to this saying, “If this is truly the case, then [people] should put even more effort into decreasing pollution, because now it’s not just [teenagers] that are in danger, but it’s also the future.” 

Scientists and researchers will continue to dig into this until a better understanding is developed, and citizens of urban cities are well aware of the risk they are at.