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This Could Save Someone: Why Has Air Filtration and Air Quality in Hospitals Become a Necessity?

This Could Save Someone: Why Has Air Filtration and Air Quality in Hospitals Become a Necessity?

Pollution has become a major, serious environmental hazard these days. People from all walks of life are getting affected by this, and it has occupied almost every phase of our life. The water we drink is subjected to water pollution; the food we eat is prone to land and soil contamination. Even the air we breathe is now a days filled with air pollution.

Pollution is now present in our everyday life and is harming us externally as well as internally. It has become the pressing issue in almost every large city. Overpopulated cities that have a significant number of factories are the ones that suffer most.  Air pollution is the highly concerned issue in those areas.

Air pollution is not only affecting people’s lives in the present but also their lives in the future (and the future generations as well).

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Studies show that air pollution can affect fertility labs, which poses a grave threat to the health of the fetus and can potentially affect fetal growth and development during pregnancy.

Even the air quality in hospitals has become highly affected from pollution, hence it is important to introduce active air filters for places where cleanliness is a priority.

In places like hospitals, fertility labs, etc. where the clean and fresh air is a must, lack of proper oxygen can lead to serious health risks and can result in a variety of illnesses such as breathing problems, lung problems, etc.

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Laboratories where the sterile environment is needed for learning and research cannot afford even the slightest contaminated particle or pollutant. Results from the experiments can be affected because of this unwanted mixture.

One of the most common pollutants is VOC. VOC stands for volatile organic compound and is released from the solids and liquid substances like printers, air fresheners, permanent markers, glues, pesticides, etc. These items are common in household goods. VOCs set back the health of individuals, and it is also found that they are two to five times more prevalent indoors than outdoors.

It is known that breathing in very low levels of VOCs for long periods can raise some people’s risk of health problems. VOCs may make symptoms worse for people with asthma or who are particularly sensitive to chemicals.

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Some of the health effects may include:

  • Nose, eye and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system

VOCs are emitted by everyday household items (that are also easily found in laboratories too.) So we need a filter that can not only clean the outside air but can also suck out the VOC pollutants generated inside. Many times, particulate filtration is not sufficient, and it may not be able to provide the sterilized environment.

When deciding on the filters for labs or your homes, here’s what you need to consider first:

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  • The size of the space
  • (If it’s a lab) equipment requirements of the lab
  • The temperature and humidity of the room
  • Knowing what chemicals you own that are stored indoors

So before implementing any kind of air filtration strategy it is important to take account of all the factors as any carelessness can lead to degradation of the sterilized environment.

Also, here’s some measures you should take to keep the air around you cleaner:

  • Do not smoke
  • Consider purchasing all-natural cleaning products
  • Keeps lids tight on all chemical products
  • Vent all clothes that came from the dry cleaners

It is pertinent not to overlook the need to get the air cleaner as this could become disastrous in the long run. Therefore, air filtration, should and must not be overlook.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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George Olufemi O

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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