Principal Investigator: Ms Nadine Parker
Bloorview Research Institute (Canada)Tags: 43688, air pollution, Brain, Income Inequality, inflammation, mental health, stress
The environment, both social and physical, impacts human brain structure and function. To date, investigation into the relationships between environment and the brain has been heavily focused on large geographic areas (cities, states, countries), rather than neighbourhood-level exposures. Also, there has been no investigation of a general psychopathology factor in association with environmental exposures. Therefore, we aim to (1) investigate associations between neighbourhood-level stressors and several brain-related outcomes, and (2) investigate potential underlying mechanisms of these associations. We will investigate two neighbourhood-level stressors: socio-economic and environmental. The former will include income inequality and mean income, and the latter will include local air pollution. Brain-related outcomes will include structural morphology, which we will derive from T1-weighted brain MRIs, and a general psychopathology factor, which we will derive from questionnaires on mental health symptoms. To investigate underlying stress and inflammatory mechanisms, mediating roles of indicators such as stressful/traumatic life events, individual socioeconomic status, and blood levels of inflammatory markers (e.g., C-reactive protein) will be tested. Ultimately, this project will allow for a better understanding of how the human brain and behaviour is shaped by the environment.
In addition to our original research scope, we hope to elucidate the genetic and molecular architecture of psychopathology (and related traits) in relation to ones social environment. Any polygenic scores and/or new phenotypes derived from the provided genetic data will be returned to the UK Biobank.
Last updated Aug 15, 2019