Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes

Prompting Sit – Stand Changes: Benefits (07-21-17)

Barbieri and team set out to learn more about how people use sit-stand desk options.  They “compared usage patterns of two different electronically controlled sit-stand tables during a 2-month intervention period among office workers. . . . Twelve workers were provided with standard sit-stand tables (nonautomated table group) and 12 with semiautomated sit-stand tables programmed to change table position according to a preset pattern, if the user agreed to the system-generated prompt (semiautomated table group). Table position was monitored continuously. . . .

Cut the Dust to Cut the Fat (07-17-17)

An article published in Environmental Science and Technology reports that exposure to dust can affect how much someone weighs.  The study’s findings indicate that easy dust removal/low dust accumulation environments (as well as curtailing the use of certain chemicals) may help keep our BMIs in healthy zones.  A press release from the American Chemical Society indicates that “Poor diet and a lack of physical activity are major contributors to the world’s obesity epidemic, but researchers have also identified common environmental pollutants that could play a role.

Noise and Infertility (07-11-17)

Min and Min linked exposure to loud-ish noises and male infertility.  The researchers report that they “examined an association between daytime and nocturnal noise exposures over four years . . .. and subsequent male infertility.  We used the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (2002–2013), a population-wide health insurance claims dataset. A total of 206,492 males of reproductive age (20–59 years) with no history of congenital malformations were followed up for an 8-year period. . . . Data on noise exposure was obtained from the National Noise Information System.  . .

Microbes! (06-30-17)

Environmental microbes, and how they influence how we think and behave, were a hot topic of discussion at NeoCon this year.  A 2016 article in Building and Environment, whose text is available at , shares important insights on these topics.

Adams and her team report that “Buildings represent habitats for microorganisms that can have direct or indirect effects on the quality of our living spaces, health, and well-being.”

Mortality and Green Spaces (06-14-17)

Women living in greener spaces have lower mortality rates.  James and his colleagues report that “Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress. . . . Using data from the U.S.-based Nurses’ Health Study prospective cohort, we defined cumulative average time-varying seasonal greenness surrounding each participant’s address using satellite imagery. . . .We followed 108,630 women and observed 8,604 deaths between 2000 and 2008. . . .

Seeing the Coast and Feeling Pain (06-13-17)

Tanja-Dijkstra and her colleagues linked seeing coastal scenes via virtual reality and experiencing less pain (even during dental treatments such as tooth extractions and fillings).  They report that “Virtual reality (VR) distraction has become increasingly available in health care contexts and is used in acute pain management. However, there has been no systematic exploration of the importance of the content of VR environments. Two studies tested how interacting with nature VR influenced experienced and recollected [remembered] pain after 1 week. . . .

Mirrors and Eating (06-08-17)

A press release from Nagoya University indicates that seeing ourselves while we eat affects how much food we consume.  The reported findings have repercussions for the use of mirrors and mirror-like surfaces in spaces where people will eat and are particularly relevant, for example, in environments for older individuals who often dine alone.  Researchers determined that “people eating alone reported food as tasting better, and ate more of it, when they could see themselves reflected in a mirror, compared with when they ate in front of a monitor displaying an image of a wall.”  Previous rese

Pink Noise and Sleep (05-15-17)

Papalambros and her team have learned that hearing pink noise (described here: 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.


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