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Could gardening combat onset of dementia?

Could gardening combat onset of dementia?
13th November 2014

The great outdoors could help in the fight against dementia, a government health adviser will claim today (November 13th).

According to the Daily Mail, Dr William Bird will call upon family doctors to suggest gardening as a way of staving off the degenerative disorder.

Dr Bird, who advises Public Health England and boasts over 30 years experience as a GP, will speak to the Royal Horticultural Society this evening and speak of how community gardening schemes c​an ​be effective.

Speaking to the newspaper, he said: "We are programmed as humans to be hunter gatherers, to live outdoors, we are not really adapted to urban life.

"A dose of green space, really connecting people back to nature, can make a huge difference."

He added how blood pressure and muscle tension quickly decrease once a person walks into a park or a garden, and he emphasised how lowering stress afforded a plethora of benefits. 

What's more, Dr Bird claimed "considerable savings" could be possible for the NHS if horticulture therapy were to launch successfully. As much as £5 of health benefit could be reaped for every £1 spent, and considering the financial burdens upon the NHS at the moment, this would be most welcome if it proves to be true. 

At the conference tonight, Dr Matilda Van Den Bosch will speak alongside Dr Bird about her research into how even the sounds of nature - such as the wind - can slash cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone.

A study from the University of Exeter Medical School earlier this year showed how care homes that had gardens could be especially beneficial to those with the degenerative condition.

Not only could sitting in an outside green space make it easier to converse with such individuals, but scientists also found it could encourage memory recall. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes