Green spaces in cities can help people live longer

The world’s largest review to date has recently established just how important urban green space is for staving off premature death.

man with a bike in a park
New research strengthens the idea that green spaces boost longevity.

Some 63% of people in the United States live in cities.

Some cities are greener than others — Philadelphia, for example, has a long history of urban greening and is even looking to bump up its 20% of green space — and northern cities tend to have less green space than southern ones.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) are looking to highlight the importance of green space in well-being and public health.

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Anxious about the news? Our top tips on how to cope

Reading the news can be stress-inducing at the best of times. When the news is particularly worrying, many of us experience levels of anxiety so high that we can have difficulty coping. So how can we stay (reasonably) anxiety-free when the media bombards us with headlines that spook us? 

person reading a magazine
Does the news get you down? In this Special Feature, we look at some ways to fight off related anxiety.

It may seem as though we have entered an age of bad news. Every day for the past few years, newspapers and news websites have turned out stressful headlines full-blast.

There is news about wars and civic unrest, impending ecological disasters, failing economies, and violent, sad local events.

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How to cope with a breakup (the healthy way)

By the time I publish this article, it will have been 1 year since my live-in partner of 6 years moved out. Despite the heartbreak and the anxiety, it is safe to say that I’ve come out the other end — stronger, healthier, and different. Below are some of the things that helped me along the way, backed by research.

two people splitting up
When two people decide to split up, the emotional consequences can be difficult to handle.

Romantic separation is, for many people, one of life’s most stressful events.

On The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale — which is an established psychological tool to evaluate stress and the risk of stress-induced illness — “divorce” and “marital separation” are the second and third most stressful events, respectively, in human life.

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Ways to lose subcutaneous fat

For people trying to lose weight, it might feel as if all fat is the same. But there are two different types of fat: visceral and subcutaneous. Subcutaneous fat is the jiggly fat visible just under the skin.

Man measuring belly fat.
Subcutaneous fat sits under the skin, as opposed to visceral fat which surounds the organs.

Subcutaneous fat is normally harmless and may even protect against some diseases. Visceral fat is fat that surrounds the organs. Though it is not visible from the outside, it is associated with numerous diseases.

It is possible to lose both subcutaneous and visceral fat. While subcutaneous fat loss might be the goal for people who want to fit into smaller clothes, losing visceral fat improves health.

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Stress physically alters communication in the brain

Astrocytes, which are brain cells that regulate neuronal communication, show long-term degradation from stress.

Stress may physically alter neural communication.

“The experience of traumatic events can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, and drug addiction,” says Dr. Si-Qiong June Liu of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. 

Dr. Liu is the lead author of a new study on mice that reveals at least one way in which stress physiologically changes the way a brain operates

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Signs of concussion in children and toddlers

Concussion is an injury to the brain caused by either a blow to the head or body. A child’s developing brain is more at risk than an adult’s, so parents and caregivers may want to know the signs of concussion in children.

little girl with headache
A child with concussion may have a headache and feel dizzy.

A survey published in 2017, looking at more than 13,000 adolescents in the United States, found that almost one-fifth reported having had a concussion at least once.

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What are the health benefits of being social?

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Humans are born into social groups and live their entire lives as a part of society, so the social element can’t easily be removed from the evolution of an individual. But how does social contact affect our health?

group of happy people
We are social beings, and interacting with people is in our nature. But it also brings us benefits on a mental and physical level.

As human beings, we dream, learn, grow, and work as part of society. The society that we’re born into and the societies that we navigate throughout our lives shape our personal identities.

And in fact, so keen are we to communicate with each other — even beyond geographical limitations — that we’ve developed a plethora of tools to help us achieve that, including pen and paper, telegraph, telephone, and the Internet.

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