Environmental and socio-economic factors, such as income disparity, family poverty, and air pollution, have increased the possibility of people developing psychotic-like experiences, such as subtle hallucinations and delusions, which may be precursors to a schizophrenia diagnosis later in life.
According to Abhishek Saxena, the first author of a research recently published inFrontiers in Psychiatry, these findings may have a significant impact on public health initiatives. But we now know that social and environmental factors can also play a role in the risk and development of schizophrenia.
Researchers reviewed data from 8,000 children enrolled in the ABCD study. They found that the more urban of an environment a child stayed in proximity to roads, houses with lead paint hazards, families in poverty, and income disparity the greater number of psychotic experiences they had over a year. These findings are in line with previous studies conducted in young adults, but have not been previously found in pre-adolescences.
According to David Dodell-Feder, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience and lead author of this study, the association between these exposures and psychotic experiences is already present in late childhood. The fact that these exposures might be beneficial as early as early as early childhood is proof of the importance of early prevention.
The National Institute of Mental Health has financed these studies.
The University of Rochester Medical Center is one of the 21 research sites in the United States that have collected data for the National Institutes of Health ABCD study. In total, 340 children from the greater Rochester area have been participating in the 10-year study. In total, the study is focusing on how biological development, behaviors, and experiences affect brain maturation and other aspects of their lives, including academic achievement, social development, and overall health.