Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Depression: A Moldy Issue?

New research reveals that people living in damp moldy houses have a higher risk of developing depression. This groundbreaking public health study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is the largest study to associate mold and mood.

While a handful of European studies published over the past decade linked mold to depression, these researchers originally set out to debunk that link. Needless to say, the skeptical US researchers were quite surprised when their study actually substantiated the European studies.

Researchers analized data from a large-scale European survey of housing and health that included almost 6,000 adults in almost 3,000 households. This analysis found a "solid association" between depression and the condition of the home.

Molds are toxins that can affect the nervous and immune system, as well as the part of the brain linked to social function. Researchers of the US study are still not entirely convinced that mold itself directly causes depression. Mold-related health problems such as illness, wheezing and fatigue could elevate the risk for depression. Also, a perceived lack of control over the household environment could also increase the risk of depression.

What the study does make clear is that an unhealthy home is unhealthy for the mental state of the people who live in it.


MaryJo said...

Am always amused at recent official scientific studies confirming what lots of us have known for a long time. An unhealthy environment (at home, at work, at school) can make us sick--whether it's depression, allergies, ADD, or other serious chronic illnesses.

My own experience with a moldy garage was the worst hay-fever-like allergy I'd ever had. And yes, it was very depressing.

MaryJo said...

Absolutely. As an adult with ADHD which I had as a child, I can't imagine, in my wildest dreams, being able to work or think without music in the background. Bach will do as will New Age. But has to be instrumental music.

So what does the Stockholm study mean by "noise?" Kind of a vague term which I'm assuming includes music.