Tuesday 16 October 2018

Living in a green area slows mental decline

Living in the country or near a city park can reduce the rate of age-related mental decline, research has shown. Stock photo
Living in the country or near a city park can reduce the rate of age-related mental decline, research has shown. Stock photo

John von Radowitz

Living in the country or near a city park can reduce the rate of age-related mental decline, research has shown.

Access to green space improved brain ageing in a group of more than 60,000 people who were monitored for 10 years, scientists found.

The effect was most marked among women, said the researchers, who estimated the amount of neighbourhood green space for each participant using satellite images.

Lead scientist Carmen de Keijzer, from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, in Spain, said: "Our data show that the decline in the cognitive score after the 10 years follow-up was 4.6pc smaller in participants living in greener neighbourhoods. Interestingly enough, the observed associations were stronger among women, which makes us think that these relations might be modified by gender."

All the participants were enrolled into the Whitehall II study tracking the health progress of a large group of UK civil servants. At three different time points, each participant was asked to complete a battery of tests that assessed verbal and mathematical reasoning, verbal fluency and short-term memory. The findings appear in the journal 'Environmental Health Perspective.

Irish Independent

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