Some Environmental Toxicants Linked to Depressive Symptoms

Six of 10 categories of environmental toxicants linked to prevalence of depressive symptoms
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TUESDAY, July 9, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Certain categories of environmental toxicants are associated with depressive symptoms, according to a study published online July 3 in JAMA Network Open.

Jianhui Guo, M.D., from the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health at Peking University in Beijing, and colleagues screened and assessed the associations between potential environmental toxicants and depressive symptoms among 3,427 participants from the 2013 to 2014 and 2015 to 2016 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Exposures were assessed for 62 toxicants in 10 categories; the association with depression scores, measured by the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), was examined.

The researchers identified associations between 27 chemical compounds or metals in six of 10 categories of environmental toxicants and the prevalence of depressive symptoms, including the volatile organic compound metabolites N-acetyl-S-(2 hydroxy-3-butenyl)-L-cysteine and total nicotine equivalent-2 (odds ratios, 1.74 and 1.42, respectively). Compared with women and older individuals, men and younger individuals seemed more vulnerable to environmental toxicants. Overall, 5 to 19 percent of the associations were mediated by peripheral white blood cell count.

"This research highlights the significance of preventing and regulating important environmental toxicants to gain fresh insights into preventing and potentially treating depression," the authors write.

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