Posts Tagged "disorders"

23Jan

UBC study links living near highways to risk of neurological disorders

by admin


UBC researchers have linked living near a highway with a higher risk of developing a neurological disorder.


Francis Georgian / Postmedia News Files

Researchers at the University of B.C. have found a link between living near highways and an increased risk of several major neurological disorders, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

The study, published this week in Environmental Health, found proximity to major roads may also increase the risk for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s diseases, likely because of exposure to more air pollution such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

Lead author Weiran Yuchi, and a team of researchers at the UBC school of population and public health, analyzed data for 678,000 adults between the ages of 45 and 84 in Metro Vancouver. The subjects were interviewed from 1994 to 1998, and again during a follow-up period from 1999 to 2003.

The researchers concluded that living less than 50 metres from a major road or less than 150 metres from a highway is associated with a higher risk of the neurological disorders, while living near green spaces such as parks and forests reduced risk.

“In our research we found that the green spaces have protective effects against developing the neurological disorders,” said Yuchi, adding that they measured green space using an index of satellite images.

Yuchi said this is the first time UBC researchers have confirmed a link between air pollution and traffic proximity with a higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MS at the population level. There are other epidemiological studies that have reported associations between road proximity and traffic-related air pollution with impaired cognitive function in adults and neurological disorders.


Weiran Yuchi, a researcher at the UBC school of population and public health, is the lead author of a study that links living near highways with an increased risk of developing a neurological disorder such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

UBC handout /

PNG

Living near a major road or highway was was associated with a 14 per cent risk for dementia, and seven per cent for Parkinson’s disease.

While the researchers did not identify a percentage for risk for MS and Alzeihmer’s, they did find road proximity was associated with incidence of both.

Yuchi noted that the research does not make recommendations on whether people should be living near highways, but they do suggest more green spaces and accessibility to parks be included in urban planning efforts.

She said their research shows that there is a three to eight per cent reduction in the risk of developing the neurological disorders for those who  live near parks or forest.

They do not make recommendations about how to minimize the risk for those who do live near major roadways, and say more research is needed.  The study did not account for people who live near roads but spend a significant amount of time in nature hiking or visiting parks.

Michael Brauer, the study’s senior author and professor in the UBC school of population and public health, said, in a UBC statement, that those who live close to a green space are likely to be more physically and socially active, and may benefit from the visual aspects of vegetation.

Brauer added that the findings underscore the importance for city planners to ensure they incorporate greenery and parks when planning and developing residential neighbourhoods.

The study was co-authored by Hind Sbihi, Hugh Davies, and Lillian Tamburic in the UBC school of population and public health.

Researchers are now looking at national data which contains information for 20 per cent of the Canadian population, and they are hoping that this will provide more insight into the association between proximity to highways, air pollution, and neurological disorders.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

6Aug

Susan Inman: Let’s stop ignoring the needs of adults with psychotic disorders

by admin


As someone who has always voted for the NDP, I am concerned about some of this government’s approaches to severe mental illnesses, writes the mother of a daughter living with schizophrenia.


Getty Images / PNG

Joy MacPhail, in her recent opinion piece, makes clear how pleased she is with the new provincial plan to improve mental health and addiction services. She believes that this plan, called A Pathway to Hope, can help “improve the well-being of all citizens.”

As the mother of a daughter living with schizophrenia, I disagree. Many unmet needs of adults living with the most severe psychotic disorders are not addressed.

MacPhail focuses on the high rate of hospitalization as evidence of the failure of the current mental health system. It is disappointing that she doesn’t acknowledge the many people with untreated psychotic disorders whose suffering is very visible on the streets of cities and towns throughout the province. Lack of treatment for this population leads to homelessness, victimization, addictions and incarceration.

The article seems to argue that all mental illnesses arise from negative social factors. It is unclear if MacPhail knows that psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder cannot be prevented. It is also unclear if she knows about anosognosia, the brain-based inability of many people in psychosis to understand that they are ill. This symptom leads people to reject treatment when they most need it.

It is good that increased funding will probably be used to expand B.C.’s too few Early Psychosis Intervention programs. These time-limited programs, unlike much of the rest of the mental health system, are known for educating clients and their families about the illnesses they are living with. I have seen how people who receive adequate psycho-education have a much better chance of understanding, accepting and learning to manage their illnesses.

Most people with schizophrenia can have their psychotic symptoms alleviated by anti-psychotic medications. However, there is widespread and ongoing disability in this population because psychotic disorders often involve significant cognitive losses. B.C.’s many influential anti-psychiatry/anti-medication activists should learn that these losses often appear before the use of any medications.

These cognitive losses include difficulties with concentration, short term and working memory, problem solving, judgement and social skills. These problems can make many of the tasks of daily living, including remembering to take medications and attend medical appointments, very difficult.

All clients and families need, but currently do not have, the chance to learn about these cognitive losses. As well, clients deserve access to the evidence-based cognitive remediation programs that exist in many other countries.

A coalition of representatives from the B.C. Schizophrenia Society, B.C.’s Early Psychosis Intervention programs, the B.C. Psychosis Program and B.C. Psychosocial Rehabilitation put on a sold-out conference in 2017 on Bringing Cognitive Remediation to British Columbia. This group has gone on to submit several proposals for training staff in implementing evidence-based cognitive remediation programs. So far, this government has chosen not to provide necessary funding.

As someone who has always voted for the NDP, I am concerned about some of this government’s approaches to severe mental illnesses. The recent recommendations from the B.C. Ombudsperson, for example, will embed the Community Legal Assistance Society in hospitals to provide advice to all involuntary inpatients. This is an organization fighting to abolish access to involuntary treatments.

Currently, nurses and social workers inform involuntary patients about their rights and about ways to access review panels to ensure that people are not receiving unnecessary treatments. Patients will soon receive advice and legal assistance from an organization that publicly doubts the value of anti-psychotic medications.

Hopefully, the NDP can be persuaded to better meet the needs of people with the most severe mental illnesses. Rather than spending millions of dollars on lawyers, the right kinds of services for this disadvantaged population could be implemented.

A lot of money is about to be spent on various mental wellness programs. Some of these funds should be used to improve mental illness literacy programs. Educating the public about psychotic disorders can increase their ability to help people access and stay engaged in essential services.

Susan Inman was an English and drama teacher at Windermere Secondary School for 24 years. She has a daughter living with schizophrenia.


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