Emotional stress caused by last years tsunami resulted in part of some survivors brains shrinking, according to scientists in Japan who grasped a unique chance to study the neurological effects of trauma.
On a quest to better understand post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers compared brain scans they had taken of 42 healthy adolescents in other studies in the two years before the killer wave with new images taken three to four months thereafter.
Among those with PTSD symptoms, they found a shrinking in the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in decision-making and the regulation of emotion, said a study published yesterday in Molecular Psychiatry.
There is a reason more than half the world’s population lives in cities, with the number expected to grow. Cities have a lot to offer. Residents can walk to nearby shops and enjoy cultural attractions not available to those in more rural areas. Also, living in a city may make your commute to work much shorter.
Unfortunately, according to health officials from the World Health Organization, that convenience may come with a price — higher levels of stress and a measurable impact on your brain.
The problem seems to be "attention," or more specifically, the lack of it. With so many different distractions — from a flashing neon sign, to the cell phone conversation of a nearby passenger on a bus, a city dweller starts to practice something known as "controlled perception." That toggling back and forth between competing stimuli can be mentally exhausting.
In fact, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, just living in an urban environment makes it more difficult for an individual to hold things in memory.
In the same study, researchers split undergraduate students into two groups. One spent the day in a suburban neighborhood, the other group in a busy city. Overall, those in the city scored lower on attention tests and had a worse mood comparatively.