In this issue’s cover story, Jason G. Goldman covers a massive research study of 20,000 individuals in England that found that 120 minutes spent in nature every week proffered marked benefits in health and mental wellness (see “The Nature Cure”). While the scale of such an undertaking makes the work significant, the results are likely to be met by some societies with little surprise. Take Denmark, where for more than half a century families have sent their children as young as three years old to so-called forest kindergarten to forgo classroom curriculum and play and explore each day outdoors, no matter the weather. Some research has shown that those kids get sick less often, can concentrate better and have improved motor skill development. Perhaps this latest finding won’t spur the creation of “forest universities” or, sadly, “forest workplaces,” but if ever there was a case to get outside and commune with nature, this is it.
Cassandra Willyard writes about a string of recent advances that have helped patients with spinal cord injuries regain mobility and functionality (see “First Steps to a Revolution”). And David Adam profiles anesthesiologist John Carlisle, who, in his free time, sleuths hundreds of peer-reviewed papers for misleading or falsified data. His work has led to the retraction of hundreds of papers (see “The Data Detective”). Good reads such as these are best consumed while lounging outside, preferably under a leafy tree.