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      Analysis of Individual Variations in Autonomic Responses to Urban and Forest Environments

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          Abstract

          Autonomic responses to urban and forest environments were studied in 625 young male subjects. The experimental sites were 57 forests and 57 urban areas across Japan. The subjects viewed the landscape (forest or urban environment) for a period of 15 min while sitting on a chair. During this period, heart rate variability (HRV) was monitored continuously. The results were presented as histograms and analyzed with special reference to individual variations. Approximately 80% of the subjects showed an increase in the parasympathetic indicator of HRV (lnHF), whereas the remaining subjects showed a decrease in the parasympathetic activity. Similarly, 64.0% of the subjects exhibited decreases in the sympathetic indicator of HRV (ln[LF/HF]), whereas the remaining subjects showed opposite responses. Analysis of the distribution of HRV indices (lnHF and ln[LF/HF]) demonstrated the effect of forest environments on autonomic activity more specifically than the conventional analysis based on the difference in mean values.

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          A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments

          Background There is increasing interest in the potential role of the natural environment in human health and well-being. However, the evidence-base for specific and direct health or well-being benefits of activity within natural compared to more synthetic environments has not been systematically assessed. Methods We conducted a systematic review to collate and synthesise the findings of studies that compare measurements of health or well-being in natural and synthetic environments. Effect sizes of the differences between environments were calculated and meta-analysis used to synthesise data from studies measuring similar outcomes. Results Twenty-five studies met the review inclusion criteria. Most of these studies were crossover or controlled trials that investigated the effects of short-term exposure to each environment during a walk or run. This included 'natural' environments, such as public parks and green university campuses, and synthetic environments, such as indoor and outdoor built environments. The most common outcome measures were scores of different self-reported emotions. Based on these data, a meta-analysis provided some evidence of a positive benefit of a walk or run in a natural environment in comparison to a synthetic environment. There was also some support for greater attention after exposure to a natural environment but not after adjusting effect sizes for pretest differences. Meta-analysis of data on blood pressure and cortisol concentrations found less evidence of a consistent difference between environments across studies. Conclusions Overall, the studies are suggestive that natural environments may have direct and positive impacts on well-being, but support the need for investment in further research on this question to understand the general significance for public health.
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            Power spectrum analysis of heart rate variability to assess the changes in sympathovagal balance during graded orthostatic tilt.

            The powers of the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) oscillations characterizing heart rate variability (HRV) appear to reflect, in their reciprocal relationship, changes in the state of the sympathovagal balance occurring during numerous physiological and pathophysiological conditions. However, no adequate information is available on the quantitative resolution of this methodology. We studied 22 healthy volunteers (median age, 46.5 years) who were subjected after a rest period to a series of passive head-up tilt steps randomly chosen from the following angles: 15 degrees, 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, and 90 degrees. From the continuous ECG, after appropriate analog-to-digital conversion, a personal computer was used to compute, with an autoregressive methodology, time and frequency domain indexes of RR interval variability. Spectral and cross-spectral analysis with the simultaneously recorded respiratory signal excluded its contribution to LF. Age was significantly correlated to variance and to the absolute values in milliseconds squared of very-low-frequency (VLF), LF, and HF components. The tilt angle was correlated to both LF and HF (expressed in normalized units [nu]) and to the LF-to-HF ratio (r = .78, -.72, and .68; respectively). Lower levels of correlation were found with HF (in ms2) and RR interval. No correlation was present between tilt angle and variance, VLF, or LF (in ms2). Individual analysis confirmed that the use of nu provided the greatest consistency of results. Spectral analysis of HRV, using nu or LF-to-HF ratio, appears to be capable of providing a noninvasive quantitative evaluation of graded changes in the state of the sympathovagal balance.
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              Ambient pollution and heart rate variability.

              We investigated associations between ambient pollution levels and cardiovascular function in a repeated measures study including 163 observations on twenty-one 53- to 87-year-old active Boston residents observed up to 12 times from June to September 1997. Particles with aerodynamic diameter
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                ECAM
                Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1741-427X
                1741-4288
                2015
                5 October 2015
                5 October 2015
                : 2015
                : 671094
                Affiliations
                1Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University, 1-1 Gakuendai, Kahoku, Ishikawa 929-1210, Japan
                2Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, 6-2-1 Kashiwa-no-ha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
                3Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Giuseppe Caminiti

                Article
                10.1155/2015/671094
                4609841
                c3f52364-0f40-4c10-a7af-898c3d18e389
                Copyright © 2015 Hiromitsu Kobayashi et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 29 July 2015
                : 20 September 2015
                Categories
                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine
                Complementary & Alternative medicine

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