Living near a green space and spending time in contact with nature has a huge beneficial effect on the brain. According to recent research, in fact, being in contact with nature decreases the symptoms of depression and dementia in the over 60s, improving cognitive function.
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A new study from the Boston University School of Public Health has found a link between living near green space and improved cognitive function.
Research suggests that living close to greenery could particularly enhance greenery cognitive function for middle-aged women, ultimately reducing the rates trough and dementia.
(Read also: If you are happy at age 20, you are less likely to suffer from cognitive impairment as an adult and to suffer from dementia as an elderly person)
A systematic review
The article, published on JAMA Network Open, analyzed about 13.594 women with an average age of about 61 years.
Researchers used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to estimate residential green spaces and subsequently measured the women's psychomotor speed, attention span, learning, and working memory.
They also looked at physical activity, air pollution, and depression. Dr Marcia Pescador Jimenez, lead author of the study said that:
Some of the main ways nature can improve health is to help people recover from psychological stress and encourage them to stay outside and socialize with friends, both of which improve mental health.
This study is among the few to provide evidence that green spaces and nature can really benefit cognitive function especially in old age. In fact, the researchers found a link between increased exposure to greenery and one better speed and psychomotor attention.
Consequently, having access to more green spaces around one's home or close to one's neighborhood could help minimize the risks of depression and dementia by improving the general cognitive function of middle-aged people.
Obviously, it was not possible to distinguish the types of vegetation that affect health, but increasing daily access to green spaces in the city is an important step to ensure a better state of health of people.
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