Trees and human health may be linked

Science gets more evidence that the natural environment can positively influence on human health. Environmental disaster, the disappearance of 100 million trees in the East and Midwest of the United States, despite the awfulness of the situation, at least something has been useful, allowing scientists to understand how the major changes in the environment are to our health.

Jeffrey Donovan and his colleagues at the U.S. Forest Service analyzed data collected over 18 years, in 1296 counties 15 states. It became clear that the Americans from areas infected emerald beetle sawfly Podosesia fraxini (insect that destroys ash), 15 thousand times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, and 6 th — from lower respiratory tract infections. Of course, the comparison was with the population not affected by pest territories.

The researchers analyzed demographic data, information about human mortality and the health of forests in the period from 1990 to 2007. The data come from those districts, where in 2010 was registered at least one confirmed case of infection of the emerald tree beetle sawfly. First P. fraxini was discovered near Detroit (Michigan) in 2002. Beetle attacks all 22 varieties of North American ash entombed nearly all infected trees.

Conclusions of experts remained unchanged even after were taken into account socio-demographic differences, such as income, race, and education. However, the authors note: although the results clearly demonstrate the link between the disappearance of the trees and the level of human mortality from diseases of the heart, blood vessels and lower respiratory tract, they do not prove cause and effect. That is, as usual, one study is not enough. Even in such an obvious way.

The results will be published in the edition of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Prepared according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Category: People, psychology, health

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