now, study Of the approximately 62 million Medicare beneficiaries, it suggests that nature may also help protect against the risk of developing certain neurodegenerative diseases.
They found that older adults who lived in zip codes with more green space had lower hospitalization rates for Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia Such as vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia.
blue space — bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans — and the amount of land dedicated to parks within a given zip code were also associated with fewer hospitalizations for Parkinson’s disease, but not for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias was.
Nature can lower stress levels
The reasons for this remain unknown, but a leading theory suggests that nature slows down our bodies. stress level while increasing concentration. Proximity to forests, parks, and other lush outdoor common spaces physical activity provide the opportunity to connection with others.
regular exercise and society Alternating current Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline. chronic stress Associated with increased risk of dementia. exercise may reduce the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease likewise.
“In general, we also found that air pollution and noise levels were lower in greener environments,” said the study authors. jochem crompmaker, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “Some of these mechanisms may be related to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”
After adjusting for air pollution, the association of protecting green space and hospitalization decreased but remained significant, suggesting other factors at play. The survey results were published by JAMA Network Open in December.
“Although it’s not the first study to show this link between green space and dementia/Parkinson’s disease, one of its great strengths is the very large study population,” he said. Anjum Hajat, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, was not involved in the study. “There is no other study of this scale.”
Klompmaker and his colleagues examined the ZIP codes and hospitalization status of all paying Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 who lived in the continental United States from 2000 to 2016.
Health Benefits of Green Spaces, Blue Spaces and Park Covers
To assess exposure to the natural environment, we analyzed the amount of green space, blue space, and park cover for each beneficiary residence zip code. The green area is normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a measure of greenness of land parcels calculated using satellite imagery.
For example, an NDVI of 1 indicates the presence of dense green vegetation, such as forests, while urban areas with few trees score closer to 0. “It could be the grass in your backyard, the trees on your street, or the crops on your farm.”
The researchers also used satellite imagery to collect water bluespace values, while park coverage was based on U.S. Geological Survey reserves. databaseHospitalizations included Medicare beneficiaries with primary or secondary hospital discharge diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or related dementia.
This result corroborates what other small studies have observed with regard to nature and neurodegenerative diseases.
2022 study Among four US cities, more residential green space was found to be associated with lower dementia risk in older adults. 2021 review Of the 22 studies, a positive association was suggested between green space and brain health indicators associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
DuWayne Heupel, 69 years old, colorado springsis a nature lover’s paradise with over 9,000 acres of parkland and 500 acres of trails. “Colorado Springs has a lot of green space,” Heupel says. “It definitely helps my health, especially my mental outlook.”
and in 2020 studyResidents of Vancouver, British Columbia, who lived near roads and had higher rates of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementia, green seemed to have a protective effect.
“Based on the available evidence, I would say that the more contact you have with nature, the better,” he said. Payam Dadvand, Associate Research Professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, whose research focuses on the impact of air pollution and green space on human health. his his 2018 analysis A 10-year follow-up period found slower cognitive decline in 6,506 older people in the UK who lived in green areas.
the researcher theorized Getting in touch with nature provides the following health benefits:
- Reduce harm — reduce exposure to air pollution, noise and heat.
- Psychological Restoration — Reduce stress and improve concentration.
- Promoting healthy behavior — promoting physical activity and social cohesion.
Bill Fury, 61, of Placencia, California, recalls a moment when he witnessed nature’s healing power. At the age of 12, he went on a hike with his classmates and middle school science teacher to the bottom of Grand His Canyon.
Fury’s father had died of pancreatic cancer a year earlier, and his mother thought the trip would be good for him.
“For the first time since my father died, I felt at peace. It was the first time I wandered into the woods looking for emotional care,” said Fury, who is now the leader. Heritage Hiking Club (HHC), based in Orange County, CA.
He met some of his best friends through his hiking group, and some of the members married each other.
Josie Robarge of Banning, Calif. started walking regularly, running Outdoors a little over 10 years ago. Now 56, she goes on her two or more hikes a week with members of social groups such as HHC.
“If you have to use the restrooms of Zion National Park and are unable to return to the visitor center, they are the people you have chosen to spend your life with. I’ll make it!” said Roberge.
If your neighborhood doesn’t boast an abundance of nature, visit forest reserves and hiking trails, experts said.
Dadvand said national and local leaders need to increase green space in urban areas and develop new natural spaces, as there is growing evidence that green spaces are good for health.
“Going out in nature is good for your health. It’s not just about dementia or Parkinson’s disease, but going out and connecting with nature can improve a variety of health indicators,” says Hajat. says Mr.