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Bo-Young Kim, Sin-Ae Park, Jong-Eun Song, and Ki-Cheol Son

This study was conducted to determine the effects of a horticultural therapy (HT) program, based on B.F. Skinner’s behavior modification theory and special education science curriculum for Korean children with intellectual disabilities for the improvement of attention and sociality. Twenty-four participants (10 males, 14 females, in grades 1 to 3) with intellectual disabilities were recruited from a special education class at an elementary school in Seoul, South Korea. Twelve children participated in the HT program after-school for 6 months (Mar. to Aug. 2009, once per week, ≈40 min per session); the control group consisted of the remaining 12 children. Before and after the HT program, Conners’ teacher rating scales—revised and the social skills rating system assessments were conducted by parents/caregivers or teachers for each of the children. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and chi square tests were used to compare differences between the two groups. Difference in attention was not significant between groups. Children in the HT group had statistically significant higher sociality scores than those in the control group (P < 0.001). In conclusion, the HT program improved the sociality of children with intellectual disabilities. To maximize the therapeutic effects of the HT program for attention, the program should be revised and supplemented based on the results in this study. A larger sample size and factoring in the level of disability and year in school of the participants would increase the precision in assessing therapeutic effects.

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Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Hee-Geun Park, Ki-Cheol Son, Dae-Sik Kim, and Wang-Lok Lee

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a gardening intervention as a physical activity in women aged over 70 years. Twenty-one women aged over 70 years were recruited from the community in Seoul, South Korea. Eleven subjects at a senior community center participated in a 15-session gardening program (twice a week, average 50 minutes per session) from Sept. to Nov. 2015. The rest of the subjects who were recruited from another senior community center acted as the control group. Blood lipid profiles, blood pressure, inflammation in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and oxidative stress were assessed by a blood test before and after the 15-session gardening intervention. The results showed that the subjects in the gardening intervention as a low- to moderate-physical activity had a significant improvement in their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and the variables related to immunity such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) for inflammation in blood and receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) expression for oxidative stress. The results of this study suggested that the 15-session gardening intervention as a low- to moderate-physical activity led to positive effects on the blood lipid profiles, blood pressure, level of inflammatory markers in blood, and oxidative stress of women aged over 70 years.

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Kwang Jin Kim, Mi Jung Kil, Jeong Seob Song, Eun Ha Yoo, Ki-Cheol Son, and Stanley J. Kays

The contribution of aerial plant parts versus the root zone to the removal of volatile formaldehyde by potted Fatsia japonica Decne. & Planch. and Ficus benjamina L. plants was assessed during the day and night. The removal capacity of the entire plant, aerial plant parts, and root zone was determined by exposing the relevant parts to gaseous formaldehyde (2 μL·L−1) in airtight chambers (1.0 m3) constructed of inert materials. The rate of formaldehyde removal was initially rapid but decreased as the internal concentration diminished in the chamber. To compare the removal efficiency between species and plant parts, the time interval required to reach 50% of the initial concentration was determined (96 and 123 min for entire plants of F. japonica and F. benjamina, respectively). In both species, the aerial plant parts reduced the formaldehyde concentration during the day but removed little during the night. However, the root zone eliminated a substantial amount of formaldehyde during the day and night. The ratio of formaldehyde removal by aerial plant parts versus the root zone was similar for both species, at ≈1:1 during the day and 1:11 at night. The effectiveness of the root zone in formaldehyde removal was due primarily to microorganisms and roots (≈90%); only about 10% was due to adsorption by the growing medium. The results indicate that the root zone is a major contributor to the removal of formaldehyde. A better understanding of formaldehyde metabolism by root zone microflora should facilitate maximizing the phytoremediation efficiency of indoor plants.