living near a forest is good for your brain

A group of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany recently published a study that talks about brain plasticity; that is, the ability of nerve cells to regenerate anatomically and functionally as a result of environmental stimulation.

This study was led by the psychologist Simone Kühn, who, together with her research team, dedicated herself to analyzing the effects of nature close to homes such as: forests, parks and even a wasteland, on brain regions that process stress such as the amygdala

The intention of the study was to confirm what has already been published in other investigations, about the greater risk suffered by the inhabitants of large cities to develop psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia. Derived from the results, the beneficial impact on brain health was established when there is nature near people who reside in cities.

341 adults, between 61 and 82 years of age, underwent reasoning and memory tests; as well as magnetic resonance imaging devices (scanners) and, based on brain comparisons, it was determined that city dwellers living near a forest were more likely to show indicators of a healthier amygdala and also showed greater ability to cope with stress than those who are not close to nature.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in nine deaths in the world is caused by exposure to air pollution. By 2015, around 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, so these results can serve as a guide to improve future urban planning.

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