Posted on Dec 06, 2018, 9 p.m.
Those living in neighborhoods with denser green spaces may be at lower risk for developing heart disease or stroke as suggested by findings from researchers at the University of Louisville.
Blood and urine samples were taken from 408 people of varying ages, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status over a 5 year period to examine for risks of cardiac injury and stroke by calculating and measuring biomarkers in the samples.
Density of green spaces near where the subjects lived were measured using NDVI, and levels of air pollution were measured using particulate matter from the ERA and roadway exposure measurements, in a first of its kind study to assess impact of green spaces on individual level biomarkers of blood vessel injury and cardiovascular disease.
Based on their findings living in denser green spaces was associated with: lower urinary concentration of F2 isoprostane indicators of oxidative stress; an increased capacity to repair blood vessel damage; and lower urinary concentration of epinephrine biomarkers of stress; with the epinephrine association being found to be stronger among women, those not taking beta blockers, and those with no history of heart attack.
As published in the Journal of the American Heart Association these results were independent of factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, smoking status, statin use, deprivation level, and roadway exposure.
The researchers suggest that increasing amounts of green space and vegetation in neighborhoods may be an unrecognized environmental influence on cardiovascular health and has potential to be a significant public health intervention.
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