Indian scientist to study the effect of trees on cardiovascular health

The study is backed by $8.5 million.

India born scientist Aruni Bhatnagar has come up with a unique idea to study the effects of green plantations on combating cardiovascular disease. Bhatnagar is all set to launch his project titled ‘Green Heart project,’ by planting trees in Louisville, Kentucky.

Aruni Bhatnagar

Bhatnagar, a medical professor at the University of Louisville, will plant as many as 8,000 trees and other plantings in the city between Churchill Downs, Iroquois Park, and Louisville International Airport.

The $14.5 million research project is carried out with the help of the University of Louisville, The Nature Conservancy, and The Institute for Healthy Air, Land and Soil. The team will transform the area where about 22,000 people live.

The health of 700 people will be studied to know the cardiovascular response after having planted the trees. In order to make an immediate impact, the trees planted will be large sized, some could be as tall as 30 feet.

“We think (trees) might be more effective than statins,” Bhatnagar told USA Today. “Nobody has evaluated the specific health effects of planting green spaces,” he added.

Though some studies had been conducted earlier about the impact of trees in improving public health, they hadn’t produced any conclusion or detail.

So, the current study aims at exploring the connections between health and trees and adding more certainty to earlier research.

The health of people living near the newly planted greenery will be compared with those who live in other parts of the city.

The study is backed by $8.5 million from The Nature Conservancy and other grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources.

Trees take up the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide while creating life-sustaining oxygen. While trees produce volatile organic compounds – a source of ozone pollution – they also absorb ozone and other pollutants and trap especially dangerous tiny particles.

“Instead of giving someone a pill, we are giving them greenness,” Chris Chandler, director of urban conservation with The Nature Conservancy’s Kentucky chapter, was quoted as saying by USA Today.

A Lucknow University graduate with a biochemistry doctorate from the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), also in Lucknow, Bhatnagar is a professor and university scholar with Louisville’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology.

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