News from ISGlobal
Primary schoolchildren who have been raised in homes surrounded by more greenspace tend to present with larger volumes of white and grey matter in certain areas of the brain. Those anatomic differences are in turn associated with beneficial effects on cognitive function. This is the main conclusion of a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in collaboration with the Hospital del Mar (Spain) and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (UCLA FSPH).
The study was performed in a subcohort of 253 schoolchildren from the BREATHE project in Barcelona (Spain). Lifelong exposure to residential greenspace was estimated using satellite-based information on thechildren’s addresses from birth up through to the time of the study. Brain anatomy was studied using high-resolution 3D magnetic resonance images (MRI). Working memory and inattentiveness were evaluated with computerized tests. “This is the first study that evaluates the association between long-term exposure to greenspace and brain structure,” says Dr. Payam Dadvand, ISGlobal researcher and leading author of the study. “Our findings suggest that exposure to greenspace early in life could result in beneficial structural changes in the brain.”
Dadvand P., et.al. The Association between Lifelong Greenspace Exposure and 3-Dimensional Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Barcelona Schoolchildren. Environmental Health Perspectives, February 2018