Europe UK (Commonwealth Union) – The countryside is generally known as place to getaway and relax with some fresh air that comes with health benefits both to the body and mind. The countryside also offers farmlands, forests, small villages, and other rural settlements. It is typically seen as being distinct from the city and the suburbs, with a slower pace of life and a closer link to nature.
Individuals who are 50 years old and over residing in rural England had greater performance in memory tests as opposed to those residing in English towns and cities, was revealed by a new study led by University College London (UCL) researchers.
The findings that were published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, evaluated the findings of memory tests obtained by 2 nationally representative population samples, whose participants were 50 years old and over, in England and China.
They discovered that for England, being in a rural area was associated to significantly more performance in memory tests and the link persisted after considering the effects of education and wealth.
However, China, indicated that, residing in a rural area was associated to much less memory performance and a steeper lowering in memory, which was in an average of 3 years.
The study suggested that improved access to outdoor green spaces may shed light on the upper hand in memory tests among rural dwellers in England, compared to China, where it was observed that the rural population had lower access to education and cultural engagement.
Having lower education and lower household wealth, for the moment, were linked with less memory performance in both England and China, where China, saw an association to a steeper lowering of memory.
Senior author Professor Andrew Steptoe of the UCL Behavioural Science & Health says “Comparisons across countries like this one are important, both for estimating the burden of memory decline and dementia risk as we get older and for understanding the factors contributing to these changes. Some factors, such as education, may be protective across the board. But others, such as whether you live an urban or rural life, appear to vary in their association with cognitive function in the two countries we studied.”