City Living Tied to More Anxiety, Mood
WEDNESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- People who are born and
raised in cities have a greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood
disorders due to the impact that city living appears to have on two
brain regions that regulate emotion and stress, a new international
The findings may lead to new ways to improve the quality of life
for city dwellers, according to the researchers.
Previous studies found that urban residents have a 21 percent
increased risk for anxiety disorders and a 39 percent increased
risk for mood disorders. They also have nearly twice the rate of
schizophrenia compared to people who don't live in cities, said
study co-author Jens Pruessner, of the Douglas Mental Health
University Institute in Montreal.
He and his colleagues in Germany used functional MRI to study
the brain activity of healthy volunteers from urban and rural
areas. They found that city dwellers had greater stress responses
in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved in emotional
regulation and mood.
The researchers also found that being raised in the city was
associated with activity in the cingulate cortex, which is involved
in regulation of negative mood and stress.
The study appears in the current issue of the journal
"These findings suggest that different brain regions are sensitive to the experience of city living during different times across the lifespan," Pruessner said in a Douglas news release. "These findings contribute to our understanding of urban environmental risk for mental disorders and health in general. They further point to a new approach to interface social sciences, neurosciences and public policy to respond to the major health challenge of urbanization."
Pruessner added that more studies were needed to expand on the
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