Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes

Circadian Lighting and Elderly Falls (08-31-22)

Grant and colleagues investigated falls in care homes by elderly (mean age 81 +/- 12 years old) residents.  They report that some test locations “had solid-state lighting installed throughout the facility that changed in intensity and spectrum to increase short-wavelength (blue light) exposure during the day (6 am–6 pm) and decrease it overnight (6 pm–6 am). The control sites retained standard lighting with no change in intensity or spectrum throughout the day. The number of falls aggregated from medical records were assessed over an approximately 24-month interval. . .

More Awe Implications (08-30-22)

Monroy and Keltner’s work confirms the value of feeling awed; people can be awed in various ways, including, for example, via viewing extraordinary workmanship or materials.  The research duo reports that “we first review recent advances in the scientific study of awe. . . . Awe engages five processes—shifts in neurophysiology, a diminished focus on the self, increased prosocial relationality, greater social integration, and a heightened sense of meaning—that benefit well-being.

Circadian Lighting Value (08-11-22)

New research confirms the value of circadian and natural lighting.  Teruel and colleagues determined that “Disruption of the circadian clocks that keep the body and its cells entrained to the 24-hour day-night cycle plays a critical role in weight gain. . .  factors that throw the body’s ‘clocks’ out of rhythm may contribute to weight gain.”

Birthing Room Design (07-28-22)

Where would people prefer to give birth?  Skogstrom, Vithal, and Wijk report that their “study was part of a . . . research project, including women . . . receiv[ing] care in a new birthing room designed with physical features changeable according to personal wishes. . . .  The overall impression of the room was positive and exceeded women’s expectations. They felt welcomed and strengthened by the room, which shifted the focus to a more positive emotional state.

Office Lighting and Sleep (07-14-22)

Benedetti and colleagues learned that the lighting of places where people are working influences how well they sleep at night.  The team reports that they “tested the effects of optimized dynamic daylight and electric lighting on circadian phase of melatonin, cortisol and skin temperatures in office workers. We equipped one office room with an automated controller for blinds and electric lighting, optimized for dynamic lighting (= Test room), and a second room without any automated control (= Reference room).

Designing for Dining

The design of restaurants and other places people dine away from home has a significant effect on how their patrons think and behave—and on what their owners earn.  Design can encourage positive experiences for restaurant customers and managers.  A special focus of this article is designing to promote healthy eating.

Desert Rain Smells (06-29-22)

Researchers have investigated the consequences of smelling the sorts of odors present in deserts when it rains.  Nabhan, Daugherty, and Hartung found that “Desert dwellers know it well: the smell of rain and the feeling of euphoria that comes when a storm washes over the parched earth. That feeling, and the health benefits that come with it, may be the result of oils and other chemicals released by desert plants after a good soaking. . . .

Sounds and Eating (06-09-22)

Peng-Li and colleagues studied how sound influences food eaten.  They report that “Soft nature sounds [ocean waves] and loud restaurant noises [chattering and tableware noises] were employed to induce emotional relaxation and arousal respectively. One hundred and one healthy university students completed a repeated-measure design of the LFPQ [Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire]; once with each soundscape playing in the background. . . . nature sounds increased explicit liking of healthy (vs.

Pediatric Healthcare Design (06-02-22)

Steelcase conducted a pediatric healthcare-related literature review and developed design principles that can be used in a variety of spaces, from waiting areas to exam rooms.  Via the literature review, Steelcase determined that in pediatric healthcare settings “engaging young patients in their surrounding environment can help minimize anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Exploration provides choices, and choices provide a sense of control. . . . Children need movement and sensory experiences to reduce stress. . . .


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