City Life Changes Brain Function

 

Turns out, city dwellers might actually be wired differently to their rural counterparts after all. A new study by Germany’s University of Heidelberg has discovered two neural areas, which regulate fear and emotion, that may be overactive in urbanites.

City Life a Stress

Professor Andreas Meyer-Lindberg’s research continued on from previous findings, that urban-dwellers had a 21% increase in the risk of anxiety disorders, as compared with country-based control group. Meyer-Lindberg’s results indicate that both the Amygdala (associated with regulation anxiety, emotion) and the Cingulate Cortex (similarly linked with emotional control, responding to environmental adversity) were overactive in urbanites, relative to their rural counterparts.

Professor Meyer-Lindberg speculates that this increased activity, and higher stress, is a major causational factor in urbanites’ higher incidence of both mental health problems and general anxiety.

Future Implications

By 2050, according to sciencedaily, 70% of the global population will live in urban regions. This is expected to correlate with a rise in mental health issues and needs. Meyer-Lindberg believes the further research is the next logical step, in order to better understand what specific factors of city-life may cause the higher levels of stress.

Future urban design could then be based around these findings, and help mitigate anxiety and mood disorders‘ impact.

 

Sources: http://www.sciencedaily.com, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/

 

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