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Living near green space reduces the risk of stroke

A recent study showed that green spaces within 300 meters of one’s home can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 16 percent. The research was a joint study carried out by scientists at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, the Catalan Health Quality and Assessment Agency (AQuAS) and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). 

The scientists analyzed air pollution exposure among 3.5 million adults over the age of 18 who had not had a stroke at the beginning of the study. The researchers focused specifically on particulate matter, nitrous oxide and soot near the study participants homes. This data was compared to the proximity of green spaces.

“It should be borne in mind that, unlike other air pollutants, which have various sources, NO2 is mainly caused by road traffic. Therefore, if we really want to reduce the multiple risks that this pollutant poses to people’s health, we need to implement bold measures to reduce car use,” said study co-author Cathryn Tonne.

The study found that the risk of stroke rises with exposure to each of the air pollutants considered in the research. In fact, the risk of stroke was increased even when the air pollutants were present in levels that are considered safe by governmental standards.  

“Despite compliance with the levels set by the European Union, we are faced with the paradox that there is still a health risk, such as the one we identified in this study, where there is a direct relationship between exposure to pollutants in our environment and the risk of suffering a stroke”, explained study lead author Dr. Rosa Maria Vivanco, “The danger is still present and many more measures need to be taken”

Thankfully, the research had some good news as well. The study showed that the risk of stroke could also be reduced, by living near a green space. This research may be useful for the future of urban planning and to assist those who may be at risk for stroke and other health related issues. 

The study is published in the journal Environment International.

By Zach Fitzner, Staff Writer

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