From drug-delivering microbots to cancer-fighting nano-swarms, the age of ingestible, autonomous health devices is upon us. So it was only a matter of time before somebody built a miniature stethoscope that sits in your GI tract monitoring your vital signs.
The large study builds on a body of prior research showing the cognitive and psychological benefits of nature scenery — but also goes farther in actually beginning to quantify just how much an addition of trees in a neighborhood enhances health outcomes. The researchers, led by psychologist Omid Kardan of the University of Chicago, were able to do so because they were working with a vast dataset of public, urban trees kept by the city of Toronto — some 530,000 of them, categorized by species, location, and tree diameter — supplemented by satellite measurements of non-public green space (for instance, trees in a person’s back yard).
Trees on public ground would generally be closer to bigger streets. One imaginable way they improve the conditions could be that they filter toxic waste from car exhausts. We know that exhaust can affect the expression of our DNA. The study is everything but precise, but it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable conclusion.
The benefits being compared to having more wealth is also interesting. I wonder if a contributing factor could be that having more plants around indicates to humans on some level that resources are more abundant. Which in turn makes me think about ultra-dense population centers, like the skyscrapers in Hong Kong…