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1.  A Shift Toward Building with Nature in the Dredging and Port Development Industries: Managerial Implications for Projects in or Near Natura 2000 Areas 
Environmental Management  2014;54(1):3-13.
Building with Nature is a new approach to designing water infrastructure, one that seeks to realize socioeconomic project goals in harmony with the environment. The Dutch dredging industry is promoting its application in the Netherlands, but similar concepts are emerging internationally. The Working with Nature concept has been developed under the auspices of the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, Engineering with Nature by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Flanders Bays 2100 by a group of Belgian dredging companies and international consultants. The research discussed in this article focuses on the feasibility of implementing the Building with Nature approach in the context of EU Natura 2000 governance. The initial expectation of the industry was that Natura 2000 regulations would obstruct innovative Building with Nature attempts. The empirical evidence points to a shift toward Building with Nature have taken place on the governance and project levels, and the goals of Natura 2000 and Building with Nature converging in practice. Using specific project-level variables identified by researchers, guidance for project development in Natura 2000 areas was proposed. We conclude by discussing the implications of the research results for the dredging industry dealing with Natura 2000 regulations in Europe and similar overarching nature regulations elsewhere.
doi:10.1007/s00267-014-0285-z
PMCID: PMC4052005  PMID: 24809286
Dredging; Port development; Building with Nature; Natura 2000; Project management; North-West Europe
3.  VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE* 
PMCID: PMC1517776  PMID: 18739163
4.  Deployment of a Prototype Plant GFP Imager at the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse of the Haughton Mars Project 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2008;8(4):2762-2773.
The use of engineered plants as biosensors has made elegant strides in the past decades, providing keen insights into the health of plants in general and particularly in the nature and cellular location of stress responses. However, most of the analytical procedures involve laboratory examination of the biosensor plants. With the advent of the green fluorescence protein (GFP) as a biosensor molecule, it became at least theoretically possible for analyses of gene expression to occur telemetrically, with the gene expression information of the plant delivered to the investigator over large distances simply as properly processed fluorescence images. Spaceflight and other extraterrestrial environments provide unique challenges to plant life, challenges that often require changes at the gene expression level to accommodate adaptation and survival. Having previously deployed transgenic plant biosensors to evaluate responses to orbital spaceflight, we wished to develop the plants and especially the imaging devices required to conduct such experiments robotically, without operator intervention, within extraterrestrial environments. This requires the development of an autonomous and remotely operated plant GFP imaging system and concomitant development of the communications infrastructure to manage dataflow from the imaging device. Here we report the results of deploying a prototype GFP imaging system within the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse (ACMG) an autonomously operated greenhouse located within the Haughton Mars Project in the Canadian High Arctic. Results both demonstrate the applicability of the fundamental GFP biosensor technology and highlight the difficulties in collecting and managing telemetric data from challenging deployment environments.
PMCID: PMC3673444
Green Fluorescent Protein; telemetry; Mars; astrobiology; analog environments
5.  Natural environments, ancestral diets, and microbial ecology: is there a modern “paleo-deficit disorder”? Part I 
Famed microbiologist René J. Dubos (1901–1982) was an early pioneer in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) construct. In the 1960s, he conducted groundbreaking experimental research concerning the ways in which early-life experience with nutrition, microbiota, stress, and other environmental variables could influence later-life health outcomes. He also wrote extensively on potential health consequences of a progressive loss of contact with natural environments (now referred to as green or blue space), arguing that Paleolithic experiences have created needs, particularly in the mental realm, that might not be met in the context of rapid global urbanization. He posited that humans would certainly adapt to modern urban landscapes and high technology, but there might be a toll to be paid in the form of higher psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression) and diminished quality of life. In particular, there might be an erosion of humanness, exemplified by declines in altruism/empathy. Here in the first of a two-part review, we examine contemporary research related to natural environments and question to what extent Dubos might have been correct in some of his 50-year-old assertions.
doi:10.1186/s40101-015-0041-y
PMCID: PMC4318214  PMID: 25636731
6.  The early botanical medical movement as a reflection of life, liberty, and literacy in Jacksonian America* 
This paper describes a popular, grassroots health crusade initiated by Samuel Thomson (1769–1843) in the early decades of the nineteenth century and the ways the Thomsonians exemplified the inherent contradictions within the larger context of their own sociopolitical environment. Premised upon a unique brand of frontier egalitarianism exemplified in the Tennessee war-hero Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), the age that bore Jackson's name was ostensibly anti-intellectual, venerating “intuitive wisdom” and “common sense” over book learning and formal education. Likewise, the Thomsonian movement eschewed schooling and science for an empirical embrace of nature's apothecary, a populist rhetoric that belied its own complex and extensive infrastructure of polemical literature. Thus, Thomsonians, in fact, relied upon a literate public to explain and disseminate their system of healing. This paper contributes to the historiography of literacy in the United States that goes beyond typical census-data, probate-record, or will-signature analyses to look at how a popular medical cult was both heir to and promoter of a functionally literate populace.
PMCID: PMC128961  PMID: 12398251
8.  Neuro syphilis: Portrayals by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  2009;51(3):235-237.
The developments in neuro syphilis in the 19th century are integral parts of the history of psychiatry. The delineation of various aspects of neuro syphilis by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in three of his stories is discussed in brief.
doi:10.4103/0019-5545.55103
PMCID: PMC2772218  PMID: 19881059
Neurosyphilis; history; fiction
9.  Industrial Health—Meeting the Challenge* 
The modern industrial system had its origin in England just over 200 years ago. This period historically is referred to as the Industrial Revolution. It was marked by mechanical inventions in textile machinery, by advances in the manufacture of iron, and by the introduction of steam power. These, in turn, were the foundations of the factory system.
In 1784 at a cotton mill at Radcliffe, near Manchester, an epidemic of malignant fever affected the operatives and spread to the surrounding population. The situation became serious and the local justices invited Dr. Thomas Percival, a leading local physician, to investigate the nature and circumstances of the outbreak. With his colleagues and leading citizens he formed the Manchester Board of Health. The Board, through authoritative reports, made recommendations for the control of such epidemics by the establishment of isolation hospitals. They also urged the need for the improvement of environmental conditions in mills and factories and for the diminution of working hours, especially for children and women. In pursuance of these objects the Government in 1802 passed the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act. This was the first Factory Act. Since then factory legislation has been greatly extended and is the basis of statutory supervision of factories and factory workers under the inspector of factories. The development of this supervision is traced with special reference to the work of the certifying surgeons, now the appointed factory doctors, and the medical inspectors. Concurrently, public health education and workmen's compensation were advanced through legislation. Since 1935 voluntary medical services have been developed in industry. These services have not been restricted to the observance of the minimum standards prescribed by statute and so have been able to pioneer advances directed to the promotion of safety, health, and welfare in factories and other places of employment.
Radcliffe, Percival, and steam power are recognized as the growing points of the challenge to health by the Industrial Revolution. The means whereby the challenge was met are discussed.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century scientists increasingly concentrated their studies on the elements. This culminated in the isolation of the atom. During the last 10 years atomic power has become a reality and the foundation of the second Industrial Revolution. While the potential hazards of ionizing radiations had long been known and proved at Hiroshima, the inherent dangers for the general population only became impressed on the public mind by a breakdown at the Windscale No. 1 plutonium pile on October 10, 1957. Radio-active iodine escaped, contaminating the atmosphere as far afield as western Europe. A committee under the chairmanship of Sir Alexander Fleck was appointed to investigate the cause of the accident and its consequences and to make recommendations. The report, which laid special emphasis on safety and health, was published early in 1958. So by analogy, Windscale, Fleck, and atomic power are identified as the growing points of the challenge of the Second Industrial Revolution. How this challenge is to be met by doctors is discussed. It is submitted that the urgent need is to formulate now a basic philosophy for future development of industrial medicine. Continuation of the old order will not suffice: ideas must again become revolutionary. The responsibility for leadership rests on the Industrial Health Advisory Committee established in 1955 under the chairmanship of the Minister of Labour and National Service.
PMCID: PMC1037855  PMID: 13618514
11.  Mapping opportunities and challenges for rewilding in Europe 
Conservation Biology  2015;29(4):1017-1027.
Farmland abandonment takes place across the world due to socio-economic and ecological drivers. In Europe agricultural and environmental policies aim to prevent abandonment and halt ecological succession. Ecological rewilding has been recently proposed as an alternative strategy. We developed a framework to assess opportunities for rewilding across different dimensions of wilderness in Europe. We mapped artificial light, human accessibility based on transport infrastructure, proportion of harvested primary productivity (i.e., ecosystem productivity appropriated by humans through agriculture or forestry), and deviation from potential natural vegetation in areas projected to be abandoned by 2040. At the continental level, the levels of artificial light were low and the deviation from potential natural vegetation was high in areas of abandonment. The relative importance of wilderness metrics differed regionally and was strongly connected to local environmental and socio-economic contexts. Large areas of projected abandonment were often located in or around Natura 2000 sites. Based on these results, we argue that management should be tailored to restore the aspects of wilderness that are lacking in each region. There are many remaining challenges regarding biodiversity in Europe, but megafauna species are already recovering. To further potentiate large-scale rewilding, Natura 2000 management would need to incorporate rewilding approaches. Our framework can be applied to assessing rewilding opportunities and challenges in other world regions, and our results could guide redirection of subsidies to manage social-ecological systems.
Mapeo de Oportunidades y Retos para el Retorno de la Vida Silvestre
Resumen
El abandono de tierras agrícolas ocurre en todo el mundo debido a factores socio-económicos y ecológicos. En Europa, las políticas ambientales y agrícolas tienen el objetivo de prevenir el abandono y frenar la sucesión ecológica. La reintroducción o el retorno de la vida silvestre (“rewilding”) representa una estrategia alternativa a esto. Desarrollamos un marco de trabajo para evaluar las oportunidades de reintroducción en diferentes dimensiones de naturaleza a lo largo de Europa. Mapeamos la luz artificial, la accesibilidad para humanos con base en la infraestructura de transporte, la proporción de productividad primaria (es decir, la productividad del ecosistema incautado por los humanos por medio de la agricultura o la silvicultura) y la divergencia de vegetación natural potencial en áreas que se proyecta estarán abandonadas para el 2040. A nivel continental, los niveles de luz artificial fueron bajos y la divergencia de vegetación natural potencial fue alta en las áreas de abandono. La importancia relativa de las medidas de naturaleza difirió regionalmente y estuvieron conectadas fuertemente a los contextos ambientales y socio-económicos locales. Las grandes áreas de abandono proyectado estuvieron localizadas frecuentemente en o alrededor de sitios Natura 2000. Con base en estos resultados, argumentamos que el manejo debería ser fabricado para restaurar los aspectos de la naturaleza que son carentes en cada región. Todavía quedan muchos obstáculos con respecto a la biodiversidad en Europa, pero las especies de megafauna ya se están recuperando. Para potenciar aún más la reintroducción a gran escala, el manejo de Natura 2000 necesitaría incorporar estrategias de reintroducción. Nuestro marco de trabajo puede aplicarse a la evaluación de las oportunidades de reintroducción y a los obstáculos en otras regiones del mundo, y nuestros resultados pueden guiar la redirección de los subsidios para manejar los sistemas socio-ecológicos.
doi:10.1111/cobi.12533
PMCID: PMC4584510  PMID: 25997361
biodiversity policy; conservation management; farmland abandonment; land-use change; Natura 2000; rewilding; wilderness; abandono de tierras agrícolas; cambio en el uso de suelo; manejo de la conservación; Natura 2000; naturaleza; políticas de biodiversidad
13.  Placebo and other psychological interactions in headache treatment 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2012;13(3):191-198.
We present a theory according which a headache treatment acts through a specific biological effect (when it exists), a placebo effect linked to both expectancy and repetition of its administration (conditioning), and a non-specific psychological effect. The respective part of these components varies with the treatments and the clinical situations. During antiquity, suggestions and beliefs were the mainstays of headache treatment. The word placebo appeared at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Controversies about its effect came from an excessive interpretation due to methodological bias, inadequate consideration of the variation of the measure (regression to the mean) and of the natural course of the disease. Several powerful studies on placebo effect showed that the nature of the treatment, the associated announce, the patients’ expectancy, and the repetition of the procedures are of paramount importance. The placebo expectancy is associated with an activation of pre-frontal, anterior cingular, accumbens, and periacqueducal grey opioidergic neurons possibly triggered by the dopaminergic meso-limbic system. In randomized control trials, several arms design could theoretically give information concerning the respective part of the different component of the outcome and control the natural course of the disease. However, for migraine and tension type headache attacks treatment, no three arm (verum, placebo, and natural course) trial is available in the literature. Indirect evidence of a placebo effect in migraine attack treatment, comes from the high amplitude of the improvement observed in the placebo arms (28% of the patients). This figure is lower (6%) when using the harder criterium of pain free at 2 h. But these data disregard the effect of the natural course. For prophylactic treatment with oral medication, the trials performed in the last decades report an improvement in 21% of the patients in the placebo arms. However, in these studies the duration of administration was limited, the control of attacks uncertain as well as the evolution of the co-morbid psycho-pathology. Considering the reviews and meta-analysis of complex prophylactic procedures, it must be concluded that their effect is mostly linked to a placebo and non-specific psychological effects. Acupuncture may have a slight specific effect on tension type headache, but not on migraine. Manual therapy studies do not exhibit difference between manipulation, mobilization, and controls; touch has no proven specific effect. A comprehensive efficacy review of biofeedback studies concludes to a small specific effect on tension type headache but not on migraine. A review of behavioral treatment conclude to an interesting mean improvement but did not demonstrated a specific effect with the exception of a four arm study including a pseudo meditation control group. Expectation-linked placebo, conditioning, and non-specific psychological effects vary according clinical situations and psychological context; likely low in RCT, high after anempathic medical contact, and at its maximum with a desired charismatic healer. The announcements of doctors strongly influence the beliefs of patients, and in consequence their pain and anxiety sensibilities; this modulates the amplitude of the placebo and the non-specific psychological effects and is therefore a major determinant of the therapeutic success. Furthermore, any repetitive contact, even through a placebo, may interfere positively with the psychopathological co-morbidity. One has to keep in mind that the non-specific psychological interactions play a major role in the improvement of the majority of the headache sufferers.
doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0422-0
PMCID: PMC3311834  PMID: 22367630
Migraine; Placebo; Headache treatment
14.  Placebo and other psychological interactions in headache treatment 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2012;13(3):191-198.
We present a theory according which a headache treatment acts through a specific biological effect (when it exists), a placebo effect linked to both expectancy and repetition of its administration (conditioning), and a non-specific psychological effect. The respective part of these components varies with the treatments and the clinical situations. During antiquity, suggestions and beliefs were the mainstays of headache treatment. The word placebo appeared at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Controversies about its effect came from an excessive interpretation due to methodological bias, inadequate consideration of the variation of the measure (regression to the mean) and of the natural course of the disease. Several powerful studies on placebo effect showed that the nature of the treatment, the associated announce, the patients’ expectancy, and the repetition of the procedures are of paramount importance. The placebo expectancy is associated with an activation of pre-frontal, anterior cingular, accumbens, and periacqueducal grey opioidergic neurons possibly triggered by the dopaminergic meso-limbic system. In randomized control trials, several arms design could theoretically give information concerning the respective part of the different component of the outcome and control the natural course of the disease. However, for migraine and tension type headache attacks treatment, no three arm (verum, placebo, and natural course) trial is available in the literature. Indirect evidence of a placebo effect in migraine attack treatment, comes from the high amplitude of the improvement observed in the placebo arms (28% of the patients). This figure is lower (6%) when using the harder criterium of pain free at 2 h. But these data disregard the effect of the natural course. For prophylactic treatment with oral medication, the trials performed in the last decades report an improvement in 21% of the patients in the placebo arms. However, in these studies the duration of administration was limited, the control of attacks uncertain as well as the evolution of the co-morbid psycho-pathology. Considering the reviews and meta-analysis of complex prophylactic procedures, it must be concluded that their effect is mostly linked to a placebo and non-specific psychological effects. Acupuncture may have a slight specific effect on tension type headache, but not on migraine. Manual therapy studies do not exhibit difference between manipulation, mobilization, and controls; touch has no proven specific effect. A comprehensive efficacy review of biofeedback studies concludes to a small specific effect on tension type headache but not on migraine. A review of behavioral treatment conclude to an interesting mean improvement but did not demonstrated a specific effect with the exception of a four arm study including a pseudo meditation control group. Expectation-linked placebo, conditioning, and non-specific psychological effects vary according clinical situations and psychological context; likely low in RCT, high after anempathic medical contact, and at its maximum with a desired charismatic healer. The announcements of doctors strongly influence the beliefs of patients, and in consequence their pain and anxiety sensibilities; this modulates the amplitude of the placebo and the non-specific psychological effects and is therefore a major determinant of the therapeutic success. Furthermore, any repetitive contact, even through a placebo, may interfere positively with the psychopathological co-morbidity. One has to keep in mind that the non-specific psychological interactions play a major role in the improvement of the majority of the headache sufferers.
doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0422-0
PMCID: PMC3311834  PMID: 22367630
Migraine; Placebo; Headache treatment
15.  A brief historicity of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Issues and implications for the future of psychiatric canon and practice 
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, currently in its fourth edition and considered the reference for the characterization and diagnosis of mental disorders, has undergone various developments since its inception in the mid-twentieth century. With the fifth edition of the DSM presently in field trials for release in 2013, there is renewed discussion and debate over the extent of its relative successes - and shortcomings - at iteratively incorporating scientific evidence on the often ambiguous nature and etiology of mental illness. Given the power that the DSM has exerted both within psychiatry and society at large, this essay seeks to analyze variations in content and context of various editions of the DSM, address contributory influences and repercussion of such variations on the evolving landscape of psychiatry as discipline and practice over the past sixty years. Specifically, we document major modifications in the definition, characterization, and classification of mental disorders throughout successive editions of the DSM, in light of shifting trends in the conceptualization of psychopathology within evolving schools of thought in psychiatry, and in the context of progress in behavioral and psychopharmacological therapeutics over time. We touch upon the social, political, and financial environments in which these changes took places, address the significance of these changes with respect to the legitimacy (and legitimization) of what constitutes mental illness and health, and examine the impact and implications of these changes on psychiatric practice, research, and teaching. We argue that problematic issues in psychiatry, arguably reflecting the large-scale adoption of the DSM, may be linked to difficulties in formulating a standardized nosology of psychopathology. In this light, we highlight 1) issues relating to attempts to align the DSM with the medical model, with regard to increasing specificity in the characterization of discrete mental disease entities and the incorporation of neurogenetic, neurochemical and neuroimaging data in its nosological framework; 2) controversies surrounding the medicalization of cognition, emotion, and behavior, and the interpretation of subjective variables as 'normal' or 'abnormal' in the context of society and culture; and 3) what constitutes treatment, enablement, or enhancement - and what metrics, guidelines, and policies may need to be established to clarify such criteria.
doi:10.1186/1747-5341-7-2
PMCID: PMC3282636  PMID: 22243976
Psychiatry, DSM; classification; nosology; psychopathology; mental disorders; historicity
16.  How community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity conceive the concept of mental health and factors that may influence it: A phenomenographic study 
Multimorbidity, that is, the coexistence of chronic diseases, is associated with mental health issues among elderly people. In Sweden, seniors with multimorbidity often live at home and receive care from nursing aides and district nurses. The aim of this study was to describe the variation in how community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity perceive the concept of mental health and what may influence it. Thirteen semi-structured interviews were analysed using a phenomenographic approach. Six qualitatively different ways of understanding the concept of mental health and factors that may influence it, reflecting key variations of meaning, were identified. The discerned categories were: mental health is dependent on desirable feelings and social contacts, mental health is dependent on undesirable feelings and social isolation, mental health is dependent on power of the mind and ability to control thoughts, mental health is dependent on powerlessness of the mind and inability to control thoughts, mental health is dependent on active behaviour and a healthy lifestyle, and mental health is dependent on passive behaviour and physical inactivity. According to the respondents’ view, the concept of mental health can be defined as how an individual feels, thinks, and acts and also includes a positive as well as a negative aspect. Social contacts, physical activity, and optimism may improve mental health while social isolation, ageing, and chronic pain may worsen it. Findings highlight the importance of individually definitions of mental health and that community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity may describe how multiple chronic conditions can affect their life situation. It is essential to organize the health care system to provide individual health promotion dialogues, and future research should address the prerequisites for conducting mental health promotion dialogues.
doi:10.3402/qhw.v7i0.19716
PMCID: PMC3522873  PMID: 23237629
Aged; care of older people; mental health promotion; municipal care; nursing; phenomenography; primary health care
23.  From the scala naturae to the symbiogenetic and dynamic tree of life 
Biology Direct  2011;6:33.
All living beings on Earth, from bacteria to humans, are connected through descent from common ancestors and represent the summation of their corresponding, ca. 3500 million year long evolutionary history. However, the evolution of phenotypic features is not predictable, and biologists no longer use terms such as "primitive" or "perfect organisms". Despite these insights, the Bible-based concept of the so-called "ladder of life" or Scala Naturae, i.e., the idea that all living beings can be viewed as representing various degrees of "perfection", with humans at the very top of this biological hierarchy, was popular among naturalists until ca. 1850 (Charles Bonnet, Jean Lamarck and others). Charles Darwin is usually credited with the establishment of a branched evolutionary "Tree of Life". This insight of 1859 was based on his now firmly corroborated proposals of common ancestry and natural selection. In this article I argue that Darwin was still influenced by "ladder thinking", a theological view that prevailed throughout the 19th century and is also part of Ernst Haeckel's famous Oak tree (of Life) of 1866, which is, like Darwin's scheme, static. In 1910, Constantin Mereschkowsky proposed an alternative, "anti-selectionist" concept of biological evolution, which became known as the symbiogenesis-theory. According to the symbiogenesis-scenario, eukaryotic cells evolved on a static Earth from archaic prokaryotes via the fusion and subsequent cooperation of certain microbes. In 1929, Alfred Wegener published his theory of continental drift, which was later corroborated, modified and extended. The resulting theory of plate tectonics is now the principal organizing concept of geology. Over millions of years, plate tectonics and hence the "dynamic Earth" has caused destructive volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. At the same time, it created mountain ranges, deep oceans, novel freshwater habitats, and deserts. As a result, these geologic processes destroyed numerous populations of organisms, and produced the environmental conditions for new species of animals, plants and microbes to adapt and evolve. In this article I propose a tree-like "symbiogenesis, natural selection, and dynamic Earth (synade)-model" of macroevolution that is based on these novel facts and data.
Reviewers
This article was reviewed by Mark Ragan, W. Ford Doolittle, and Staffan Müller-Wille.
doi:10.1186/1745-6150-6-33
PMCID: PMC3154191  PMID: 21714937
24.  Physiological and psychological responses of young males during spring-time walks in urban parks 
Background
It is widely believed that contact with the natural environment can improve physical and mental health. Urban green spaces may provide city residents with these benefits; however, there is a lack of empirical field research on the health benefits of urban parks.
Methods
This field experiment was performed in May. Seventeen males aged 21.2 ± 1.7 years (mean ± standard deviation) were instructed to walk predetermined 15-minute courses in an urban park and a nearby city area (control). Heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured to assess physiological responses. The semantic differential (SD) method, Profile of Mood States (POMS), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to measure psychological responses.
Results
Heart rate was significantly lower while walking in the urban park than while walking in the city street. Furthermore, the urban park walk led to higher parasympathetic nervous activity and lower sympathetic nervous activity compared with the walk through the city street. Subjective evaluations were generally in accordance with physiological reactions, and significantly higher scores were observed for the ‘comfortable’, ‘natural’, and ‘relaxed’ parameters following the urban park walk. After the urban park walk, the score for the ‘vigor’ subscale of the POMS was significantly higher, whereas that for negative feelings such as ‘tension-anxiety’ and ‘fatigue’ was significantly lower. The score for the anxiety dimension of the STAI was also significantly lower after the urban park walk.
Conclusions
Physiological and psychological results from this field experiment provide evidence for the physiological and psychological benefits of urban green spaces. A brief spring-time walk in an urban park shifted sympathetic/parasympathetic balance and improved mood state.
doi:10.1186/1880-6805-33-8
PMCID: PMC4041337  PMID: 24887352
Urban green space; Walking; Spring; Physiological relaxation; Preventive medicine; Heart rate; Heart rate variability; Semantic differential method; Profile of Mood States; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory
25.  A new theoretical approach to the functional meaning of sleep and dreaming in humans based on the maintenance of ‘predictive psychic homeostasis’ 
Different theories have been put forward during the last decade to explain the functional meaning of sleep and dreaming in humans. In the present paper, a new theory is presented which, while taking advantage of these earlier theories, introduces the following new and original aspects:
 
• Circadian rhythms relevant to various organs of the body affect the reciprocal interactions which operate to maintain constancy of the internal milieu and thereby also affect the sleep/wakefulness cycle. Particular attention is given to the constancy of natraemia and osmolarity and to the permissive role that the evolution of renal function has had for the evolution of the central nervous system and its integrative actions.
• The resetting of neuro-endocrine controls at the onset of wakefulness leads to the acquisition of new information and its integration within previously stored memories. This point is dealt with in relation to Moore-Ede’s proposal for the existence of a ’predictive homeostasis’.
• The concept of ‘psychic homeostasis’ is introduced and is considered as one of the most important states since it is aimed at the well-being, or eudemonia, of the human psyche. Sleep and dreaming in humans are discussed as important functions for the maintenance of a newly proposed composite state: that of ‘predictive psychic homeostasis’.
On the basis of these assumptions, and in accordance with the available neurobiological data, the present paper puts forward the novel hypothesis that sleep and dreaming play important functions in humans by compensating for psychic allostatic overloads. Hence, both consolatory dreams and disturbing nightmares can be part of the vis medicatrix naturae, the natural healing power, in this case, the state of eudemonia.
PMCID: PMC3306324  PMID: 22448302
sleep and dream theories; predictive psychic homeostasis; evolutionary tinkering; homeostasis of internal milieu; circadian rhythms of peripheral organs

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