Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes

Pink Noise and Sleep (05-15-17)

Papalambros and her team have learned that hearing pink noise (described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_noise) while sleeping can enhance sleep quality and memory performance the day after the pink noise is heard among older individuals.  People 60 to 84 years old participated in the Papalambros lead study and the pink noise was coordinated with sleeping brain rhythms.   Zhou, Liu, Li, Ma, Zhang, and Fang (2012) reported, more generally, that “steady pink noise has significant effect on reducing brain wave complexity and induc

Six-Foot Sneeze Zones (05-10-17)

Speaking at the 2017 Science to Practice Conference, organized by the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces at Berkeley, John Swartzberg, MD, discussed the spread of disease in workplaces, among other topics.  He reviewed research indicating that sick individuals can spread diseases, such as the flu, to people within 6 feet when they sneeze.  The reported findings have implications for workplace and healthcare waiting room design, for example.

Healthy to the Left (04-18-17)

Romero and Biswas learned that to encourage consumption, healthier options should be placed to the left of unhealthier ones.  Their work determined that “displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a ‘healthy-left, unhealthy-right’ (vs.

Neighborhood Noise and BMI (04-10-17)

Researchers studied ties between neighborhood noise levels and body mass index.  Their study “links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City’s noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there. ‘To be clear, we’re not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health,’ says senior study investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD.

Designing the Sensation of Nature (04-03-17)

Ebbensgaard reports on landscape design that engineers sensory experiences.  He states that “Post-industrial wastelands have been given increased attention by landscape architects since the late 1990s. Through their redesign, landscape architects argue that the sensory qualities of wild nature benefit people’s health and well-being and improve the urban ecosystem. . . . such landscape designs mark a shift from designing nature as such to designing the sensation of nature. . . .

Lighting ICUs for Patient Wellbeing (03-31-17)

The lighting in hospital intensive care units influences patients' wellbeing, even a year after they are discharged from the hospital.  Researchers have found that “With light adapted to the time of day, health even improves for patients who are barely conscious when they are admitted for care. . . . In order to counterbalance the traditional ICU department with low levels of daylight and nights when lighting is frequently turned on [researchers tested an] experimental environment with so-called cyclical lighting that changed during the day. . . .

Light at Night (03-08-17)

Bedrosian and Nelson studied how being exposed to light at night influences wellbeing and mood.  They share that “Many systems are under circadian control, including sleep–wake behavior, hormone secretion, cellular function and gene expression. Circadian disruption by nighttime light perturbs those processes and is associated with increasing incidence of certain cancers, metabolic dysfunction and mood disorders. . . .

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