Study links health Benefits from nature to frequency and duration of visits to green spaces

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Yet another study has corroborated the positive health outcomes of communing with nature.

Researchers from Australia have shown that people who made long visits to green spaces had lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, and those who visited more frequently had greater social cohesion. Higher levels of physical activity were linked to both duration and frequency of green space visits.

The results further suggested that up to a further 7% of depression cases and 9% of high blood pressure cases could be prevented if all city residents were to visit green spaces at least once a week for an average duration of 30 minutes or more.

For the first time, the researchers quantified the link between health outcomes and experiences of nature, as measured by intensity (i.e. the quality or quantity of nature itself), and the frequency and duration of a city resident’s experiences.

The participants’ experiences of nature were measured by three factors: The average frequency of visits to outdoor ‘green spaces’ during a year, the average duration of visits to these spaces across a week and the intensity of nature in these spaces – measured by the amount and complexity of greenery in that space.

The researchers concluded that higher levels of physical activity were linked to both duration and frequency of visits to green spaces.

The study is published online June 23, 2016 in the journal Scientific Reports

Low cholesterol linked to anxiety, depression, suicide, hemorrhagic stroke and cancers

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People with very low cholesterol levels are at increased risk of developing stomach cancer, according to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.

The study involved 2,600 residents of Hisayama, Japan, who were followed for 14 years. Gastric cancers developed in 97 subjects. After accounting for age and gender, stomach cancer rates rose significantly with descending cholesterol level. For example, among subjects with the highest cholesterol levels, the gastric cancer rate was the equivalent of 2.1 cases per 1000 persons per year; among those with the lowest cholesterol, the rate was 3.9 per 1000 persons per year.

Patients with low serum cholesterol should consider periodic gastrointestinal examination for the prevention of stomach cancer.

Low cholesterol has been earlier linked to depression, anxiety and suicide in both men and women. Another earlier report has also shown that people with cholesterol level below 180 had twice the risk of brain hemorrhage asCOMPARED to those with cholesterol levels of 230.

Physical illness can trigger depression

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If you have depression, a thorough physical exam and careful medical history should be evaluated to pinpoint a physical source of the problem for an appropriate treatment.

In depression not only look for what’s going on in the mind and brain but also check what’s going on in the body. Many medical problems are linked to mood disturbances.

Over fifty percent of heart attack survivors and those with cancer report feeling depressed. Depression is also linked to diabetes, Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions.

Depression too can affect the course of a physical disease. Depression is linked with slower recovery from a heart attack and an increased risk for future heart trouble.

Thyroid disorders also affect mood. An overactive thyroid can cause mania and under active thyroid can cause depression. Other medical conditions associated with mood disorders include certain neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s), other hormonal imbalances, and lack of vitamin B12.

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