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Exposure to traffic-related air pollution can contribute to anxiety in children.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center studied brain MRIs from 145 children with an average age of 12 years old. They looked specifically at levels of the metabolite Myo-Inositol, or MI: as increases in MI are associated with anxiety.

The team found that kids exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution had significantly higher levels of MI in the brain. Additionally, there was a 12% increase in anxiety symptoms in this group.

Researchers say these findings demonstrate the harmful impact air pollution has on young brains.


University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. (2019, May 21). Air pollution linked to childhood anxiety: Researchers investigate traffic-related air pollution and symptoms of childhood anxiety, through neuroimaging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2019 from

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is Senior Writer and Editor at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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