Friday November 15, 2019

Greening Vacant Lots can Reduce Depression in Urban Areas

The findings support that exposure to more natural environments can be part of restoring mental health, particularly for people living in stressful and chaotic urban environments

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Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people's health.
Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people's health. Pixabay

Greening sidewalks, parks and vacant or dilapidated spaces could be an important and inexpensive tool to help address the rising cases of depression, anxiety and stress in urban communities, suggests a study.

“Dilapidated and vacant spaces are factors that put residents at an increased risk of depression and stress and may explain why socioeconomic disparities in mental illness persist,” said lead author Eugenia South, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

“Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people’s health… while mental health therapies will always be a vital aspect of treatment. Revitalizing the places where people live, work and play may have broad, population-level impact on mental health outcomes,” added Charles Branas, Professor at the varsity.

In an experiment, published in JAMA Network Open, the research team measured the mental health of 342 Philadelphia residents before and after 541 vacant lots had been converted into green spaces as well as residents living near untreated abandoned lots, and those that just received trash clean-up.

In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent.
In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent. Pixabay

They found that people living within a quarter of a mile radius of greened lots had a 41.5 per cent decrease in feelings of depression compared to those who lived near the lots that had not been cleaned.

Those living near green lots also experienced a nearly 63 per cent decrease in self-reported poor mental health compared to those living near lots that received no intervention.

“What these new data show us is that making structural changes, like greening lots, has a positive impact on the health of those living in these neighbourhoods. And that it can be achieved in a cost-effective and scalable way,” Branas said.

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In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent.

“The findings support that exposure to more natural environments can be part of restoring mental health, particularly for people living in stressful and chaotic urban environments,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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If Correctly Practiced, Yoga Can Help to Recover Mental Health Issues

Although studies with more participants would be helpful in further investigating its benefits, this small study indicates adding yoga to the prescription may be helpful

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Research has shown combining therapy and medication along with Yoga has greater success than either treatment alone. Pixabay

 

 If applied in right “doses”, Yoga and breathing exercises can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in both short and long terms, reveal new research.

Published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, the study from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) provided evidence that yoga can be a helpful complementary treatment for clinical depression or major depressive disorder.

To reach this conclusion, a group of 30 clinically depressed patients were randomly divided into two groups.

Both groups engaged in lyengar yoga (founded by B.K.S. Iyengar) and coherent breathing with the only difference being the number of instructional and home sessions in which each group participated.

Over three months, the high-dose group spent 123 hours in sessions while the low-dose group spent 87 hours.

Results showed that within a month, both groups’ sleep quality significantly improved.

Tranquility, positivity, physical exhaustion and symptoms of anxiety and depression significantly improved in both groups, as measured by several validated clinical scales

“Think of it this way, we give medications in different doses in order to enact their effects on the body to varying degrees. Here, we explored the same concept, but used yoga. We call that a dosing study,” explained Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM.

Past yoga and depression studies have not really delved deeply into this.

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If applied in right “doses”, Yoga and breathing exercises can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in both short and long terms, reveal new research. Pixabay

“The data is crucial for accompanying investigations of underlying neurobiology that will help elucidate ‘how’ yoga works,” added study co-author Marisa M. Silveri, neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Research has shown combining therapy and medication has greater success than either treatment alone.

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Although studies with more participants would be helpful in further investigating its benefits, this small study indicates adding yoga to the prescription may be helpful. (IANS)