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Neurologists, forest service agree to use woods for brain health
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.07.03 11:46
  • Updated 2018.07.03 11:46
  • comments 0

A medical group and a government agency are teaming up to tackle the rising number of brain diseases caused by fine dust, such as stroke and dementia, by making the most of forests.

The Korean Neurological Association (KNA) and Korea Forest Service (KFS) signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to prevent and treat neurological disorders that arise from air pollution, by creating clean air with trees and forests.

Korean Neurological Association President Chung Chin-sang (center) and Korea Forest Service Minister Kim Jae-hyung hold the memorandum of understanding on their business cooperation, at the KNA headquarters in Insa-dong, downtown Seoul, Monday.

“The World Federation of Neurology has been hosting World Brain Day since 1997, with this year’s campaign being ‘Clean Air for Brain Health.’ The fine dust has also become a social issue,” KNA President Chung Chin-sang said at the KNA office in Seoul. “The KNA, while considering related projects, decided that partnering with the Korea Forest Service would be effective.”

Korea Forest Service Administrator Kim Jae-hyun also said, “As the country becomes an increasingly aging society, we expect the use of forest resources to be effective in preventing neurological diseases such as stroke and dementia.

KFS will provide supporting resources, create systematic reform and infrastructure, and provide technical advice. The KNA will be able to use Korea Forest Service resources to clarify scientific evidence related to improving brain health through them, he added.

Trees and environmental resources in forests have been known to have a good effect on brainwaves or scents. As drug therapies have limitations in delaying the progress of dementia, forests may help in this regard, according to Kim Jae-moon, the KNA vice president.

The two agencies will work to develop “forest healing programs” and run campaigns for clean air created by trees, and for the importance of maintaining brain health.

The number of neurological diseases, including stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s, caused by air pollution is rising due to the aggravation of fine dust pollution in Korea. Recent researches have revealed fine dust to be responsible for a large number of strokes and heart conditions. About 11,900 Koreans died prematurely from fine dust with 5,646 dying from the fine dust-related stroke alone.


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