Cognitive function in middle age is a strong predictor of whether a person may develop dementia later in life.
Scientists from Boston University found that increasing greenspace in residential areas could help improve cognitive function in middle-aged women.
This association might be explained by a reduction in depression, which is also a risk factor for dementia.
The research is published in the journal JAMA Network Open and was conducted by Dr. Marcia Pescador Jimenez et al.
In the study, the team found that exposure to greenspace around one’s home and surrounding neighborhood could improve processing speed and attention, as well as boost overall cognitive function.
The results also showed that lowered depression may help explain the association between greenspace and cognition, bolstering previous research that has linked exposure to parks, community gardens, and other greenery with improved mental health.
In the study, the team estimated residential greenspace with a satellite image-based metric.
They measured psychomotor speed, attention, learning, and working memory among 13,594 women aged 61 on average from 2014 to 2016.
The researchers found that greenspace exposure was associated with psychomotor speed and attention, but not learning or working memory. They also have depression as a mediating factor.
The team says that depression might be an important mechanism through which green space may slow down cognitive decline, particularly among women.
Based on these results, people should consider green space exposure as a potential factor to reduce depression, and thus, boosting cognition.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how to prevent cognitive decline, and commonly used mental drugs may harm cognitive functions.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about healthier heart linked to better cognitive functions, and results showing these painkillers may increase fall risk in people with cognitive decline.
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