Green space can improve cognitive function in middle-aged women

  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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According to an article published in JAMA Network Open, women with higher exposure to residential green space had higher scores of overall cognition and psychomotor speed/attention, but not learning or working memory.

The analysis included 13,594 women aged 25 to 42 years from the Nurses’ Health Study II who had data on both green space exposure and cognitive measures. Residential exposure to green space was assessed using the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index, and cognitive function was measured using a self-administered online battery.

From the four tasks in the battery test measuring psychomotor speed, attention, learning, and working memory, the researchers created three composite scores (all tasks, psychomotor speed/attention, and learning/working memory) and evaluated potential mediators, including air pollution, depression, and physical activity.

After adjustment for age at assessment, race, childhood, adulthood, and neighbourhood socioeconomic status, green space was associated with higher scores on the global composite and the psychomotor speed/attention score. By contrast, there was no association between green space and learning/working memory.

These findings indicate that higher residential surrounding green space was associated with better processing speed and attention, as well as overall cognition, highlighting its potential application as a potential population-level approach to improve cognitive function.