URBAN BRAINS BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY FROM RURAL ONES

Dutch researchers showed that city dwellers have a 21% higher risk of developing anxiety disorders than do their calmer rural countrymen, and a 39% higher risk of developing mood disorders. The urbanities” general mental health did not differ from that of their provincial counterparts. However, their brains dealt with the stress in different ways. These differences were noticeable in two regions: the amygdalas and the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (pacc).  The amygdalas are responsible for assessing threats and generating the emotion of fear. The pacc is part of the cerebral cortex that regulates the amygdalas. People living in the countryside had the lowest levels of activity in their amygdalas. Those living in towns had higher levels. City dwellers had the highest. In the case of the pacc, what mattered was not where someone was living now, but where he or she was brought up. The more urban a person’s childhood, the more active his pacc, regardless of where he was dwelling later. The regulatory mechanism of the native urbanities seems to be out of order.

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