Eva Palmquist
Eva Palmquist

Seminariet äger rum onsdag den 25 april 2018, kl 14-15 i rum 357, Frescati Hagväg 14, plan 3.


Environmental intolerance is an embracing term for a number of conditions with the common denominator of attributing several medically unexplained, non-specific symptoms to a certain environmental exposure. Examples of common environmental exposure to which individuals may attribute symptoms are odorous/pungent chemicals (e.g. perfumes, cleaning agents), electromagnetic fields (e.g. handheld electrical devices, cell phone towers), residing in a certain building and everyday sounds (e.g. wrinkling of paper, the buzz from air conditioners). The conditions have been puzzling physicians for years since the afflicted individuals report symptoms following exposure to environmental sources that often are physically or chemically unrelated in character and that are below levels known to be harmful. Furthermore, the relationship between the exposure and the symptoms does not in many cases comply with a dose-response relationship, which makes a toxic explanation for environmental intolerance non-convincing. This far, no link between environmental intolerance and organ pathology or dysfunction has been established. Instead an increasing amount of evidence suggests psychological factors, such as classical conditioning, sensitization and nocebo response, to be important gears in the causal mechanism. Environmental intolerance often leads to lifestyle alterations and functional impairment. A common strategy to cope with these conditions is avoidance. Afflicted individuals have described their situation as choosing between the plague and the cholera; either exposing themselves and getting symptoms or avoiding exposure resulting in social isolation. 

In this talk I will present results from the Västerbotten Environmental Health Study, a large questionnaire-based longitudinal survey with focus on different types of environmental intolerance, asthma and allergy, perceived environmental exposure, mental ill-health, coping strategies and social support. I will present results on co-prevalence between different types of environmental intolerance and comorbidity with functional syndromes (e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia), psychiatric conditions, asthma and allergy. Psychological risk factors for developing environmental intolerance, as well as the prognosis and factors associated with recovering from the intolerance will be presented.

Avdelningen för perception och psykofysik ansvarar för dagens seminarium.

Om Allmänna seminarieserien

Institutionens forskningsavdelningar samarbetar i Allmänna seminarieserien, där nationella och internationella forskare inbjuds att tala om aktuella forskningsämnen. Seminarierna äger rum onsdagar kl 14-15 i rum 357 om annat ej anges. Extraseminarier kan förekomma på andra dagar och tider, bl a halvtidsseminarier i forskarutbildningen.

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