City Dwellers At Increased Risk For Schizophrenia

Past studies have found that people living in urban areas are more likely to develop mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia. In fact, people who are born and raised in cities have about double to risk of schizophrenia than their country-dwelling counterparts, with larger cities conveying higher risk. A new study suggests this may be because the brain structures of city and rural people respond differently to social stress.

Using brain imaging technology, the researchers compared city and country people's brains as they did mathematical calculations under stressful conditions. Certain brain areas--the amygdala and the cingulate cortex--responded more strongly in city dwellers than in country dwellers. The amygdala is involved in processing emotions, while the cingulate cortex regulates the amygdala and is processes negative emotions.

Put simply, the stresses of city life appear to sensitized certain brain structures to stress, which may make a person more susceptible to mood disorders and schizophrenia. Additional studies may shed more light on what about city life makes it so stressful, and perhaps provide some insight into how city dwellers can decrease their risk.

Read more: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/229486.php

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