Skip to comments.City living marks the brain - Neuroscientists study social risk factor for mental illness.
Posted on 06/22/2011 5:37:44 PM PDT by neverdem
Epidemiologists showed decades ago that people raised in cities are more prone to mental disorders than those raised in the countryside. But neuroscientists have avoided studying the connection, preferring to leave the disorderly realm of the social environment to social scientists. A paper in this issue of Nature represents a pioneering foray across that divide.
Using functional brain imaging, a group led by Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg of the University of Heidelberg's Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, showed that specific brain structures in people from the city and the countryside respond differently to social stress (see pages 452 and 498). Stress is a major factor in precipitating psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
The work is a first step towards defining how urban life can affect brain biology in a way that has a potentially major impact on society â schizophrenia affects one in 100 people. It may also open the way for greater cooperation between neuroscientists and social scientists. "There has been a long history of mutual antipathy, particularly in psychiatry," says sociologist Craig Morgan at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. "But this is the sort of study that can prove to both sides that they can gain from each others' insights."
Meyer-Lindenberg works on risk mechanisms in schizophrenia, and previously focused on the role of genes. But although a dozen or so genes have been linked to the disorder, "even the most powerful of these genes conveys only a 20% increased risk", he says. Yet schizophrenia is twice as common in those who are city-born and raised as in those from the countryside, and the bigger the city, the higher the risk (see 'Dose response?').
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Those characters weren't portrayed as insane for nothing.
Big cities are human ant farms. I had an ant farm when I was little. I’ll never live in a big city.
And Boston and Washington, D.C., and Seattle, and San Francisco, etc.
Makes sense to me.
Urban living promotes hypervigilance which comes in handy when you move to the desert or the forest and need to watch out for spiders and snakes. I’ll take s&s over urban predators any day.
I struggled for years with my father's suicide. Dad wasn't obviously or overtly "mentally ill" but was suffering from depression, nobody else in the family knew to what extent.
I got a greater understanding and a degree of acceptance when I was confronted with such physical pain of my own that I preferred death. Not that I contemplated suicide but did indeed prefer to be dead rather than suffer any more. It hit me like a ton of bricks that there are people who suffer mentally to that extent.
I'm not justifying suicide but trying to better understanding it.
I have lived in a small town most of my life and if I live to the 29th of this month, I'll be 66 years old and I want to move to a more rural area. I'd like it as long as I lived within 20-30 miles of "necessity" shopping.
The name of this painting is, The Glass of Absinthe.