Less Greenspace May Increase Risk of Cognitive Decline

Lack of neighborhood greenspace and low income levels can increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and stroke, according to a study led by UM researcher Lilah Besser. In the study, MRIs of 1,260 cognitively normal people age 65 and older taken five years apart were analyzed.

“We found that white matter worsening was more likely for individuals in lower-greenspace/lower-income neighborhoods, says Besser.” Residential neighborhoods become increasingly important as individuals move into retirement, reduce their driving, and face new medical issues. “Greenspaces can provide quiet moments for older adults to refresh their brains, reduce chronic stress, and increase physical activity.”

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