Adventure

Cities Bad for the Brain

Research finds city living changes brain function

It’s no surprise that getting a little nature in your life helps you stay healthy, but research in published this week Nature explores how city living can actually affect brain function. Past studies have long shown greater rates of neurological disorders—including schizophrenia, stress, and mood and anxiety problems—among city dwellers. Now, a neurological study performed by scientists at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and released on Thursday finds that city living affects two important parts of the brain. According to the study, the amygdala, which processes memory and emotional reactions, was more active among people who live in cities. And the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex, which in turn helps regulate the amygdala, was different in people who grew up in an urban environment. The study is the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the relationship between mental health and city life.

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