Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/2/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Study suggests that being religious can enhance the brain's resilience against mental stress

A recent study now suggests that believers or those with a spiritual side have "thicker" sections of brain tissue than other people. Scientists say that while religion is largely a matter of the heart, it seems the shape of our brains could also have a role to play.

People at a higher risk of depression also had thinning cortices, compared to those with lower depression risk.

People at a higher risk of depression also had thinning cortices, compared to those with lower depression risk.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/2/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: religion, depression, spirituality, study


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers think that the thickening could could help ward off depression.

"Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this," Dr. Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University says. "The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods."

It has to be noted that the study doesn't imply that thicker brain regions cause people to become more religious or spiritual. Dr. Weissman and her colleagues says that this may hint that being religious can enhance the brain's resilience against depression in a physical way.

Researchers had previously found that people who said they were religious or spiritual were at lower risk of depression. People at a higher risk of depression also had thinning cortices, compared to those with lower depression risk.

Researchers twice asked 103 adults between the ages of 18 and 54 how important religion or spirituality was to them and how often they attended religious services over a five year period for the most recent study. The participants' brains were also imaged once to see how thick their cortices were. All the participants were the children or grandchildren of people who participated in an earlier study about depression.

Some of the test subjects had a family history of depression, and so were considered high risk for similar disorders. Others with no history served as a comparison group.

Interestingly, the importance of religion or spirituality to an individual - but not church attendance - was tied to having a thicker cortex. The link was strongest among those at high risk of depression.

"What we're doing now is looking at the stability of it," Weissman, who is also chief of the Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology Department at New York State Psychiatric Institute, said.

Dr. Dan Blazer, the Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, said the study remains in the exploratory stages.

"I think this tells us it's an area to look at," Blazer said. "It's an area of interest but we have to be careful."



---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Health

Forget the Fountain of Youth: New research discovers ibuprofen's potential to add 12 years to the human life Watch

Image of New research supports ibuprofen's potential to expand the human life up to 12 years.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When people get older, people get sick. What if we could figure out why this cycle occurs, and find ways to intervene with the process? Perhaps, we can then find ways to extend the human health span. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Buck Institute for Research ... continue reading


Global life expectancy up six years from 24 years ago Watch

Image of Death rates from some major chronic conditions were on the rise, including liver cancer caused by hepatitis C, which is up 125 percent since 1990.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

People, on average are living a few years longer than they did in 1990. According to a new study, the average global citizen lives to be 71.5 in 2013, which is up from 65.3 in 1990. Global life expectancy rose by 5.8 years in men and 6.6 years in women between ... continue reading


New plague panic? New strains of malaria appear immune to current treatment Watch

Image of Mass drug treatments have been tried before with varying success.

By Astrid Zweynert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Ka Lar Nar caught malaria for the sixth time when he was working away from home on his small farm in the jungle of southeastern Myanmar but this time it was a lot harder to get rid of it. MIN SAW, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After testing positive for ... continue reading


Growing the Church in China

Image of

By John Smagula

The world's best teas are grown in China, but many of these teas are unknown in the United States. Remote tea farms in exotic locations produce teas that rarely reach the American teacup. Of the 1.75 million tons of tea that China produces each year, less than 2% is ... continue reading


Superbugs strike again: 10 million expected to die annually by 2050 Watch

Image of Drug resistant infections, like E. coli, are expected to resist more antibiotics, making infection prevention impossible.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drug resistant infections currently cause 700,000 deaths worldwide each year. If something is not done to adamantly fight against antimicrobial resistance, a new study professes that number will grow. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Antimicrobial resistance will ... continue reading


If they can't heave health care than neither should you! The hidden agenda behind Obamacare! Watch

Image of President Obama's Affordable Care Act has failed utterly and completely. It has done nothing but harm the United States and its citizens through direct action and ignorance.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When President Obama undertook his extensive campaign to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) one of his chief promises was that individuals were guaranteed the right to keep their current physicians, another was that the ACA would allow those on the new health ... continue reading


Explorer Christopher Columbus did not bring 'STD's' back to Europe Watch

Image of Christopher Columbus has a lot to answer for -- but according to some scientists, bringing syphilis from the new world to the old was not one of them.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus had a lot to answer for - but bringing back syphilis from the new world to Europe was not one of them. A skeleton excavated from a grave in Croatia has disproven this theory, suggesting that the sexually transmitted disease ... continue reading


GOOD NEWS: HIV's ability to cause AIDS weakening worldwide, study finds Watch

Image of Some 35 million people currently have HIV and AIDS has killed around 40 million people since it began spreading 30 years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just in time for World AIDS Day, December 1st. comes some most encouraging news: The world has finally reached "the beginning of the end" of the AIDS pandemic, a leading campaign group claimed today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a study of ... continue reading


Fountain of Youth discovered at last? Revolutionary wrinkle cream heralded Watch

Image of Created by Professor Chris Toumazou, Regius Professor at Imperial College London, among his many other accomplishments invented the cochlear ear implant, the artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetics and the wireless heart monitor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Emollients, moisturizers and facial scrubs are typically used by consumers to keep unsightly wrinkles off the face. Many forego aging gracefully and strive to maintain a youthful face well past middle age. Now, a brand new "wrinkle cream" which uses the client's ... continue reading


How the Obama administration just sued itself over Obamacare enforcement Watch

Image of Obamacare may be intended to have a disruptive impact on medical care, leaving the government as the only agency which can resolve the problems it has itself created.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Obama may face added backlash against his signature healthcare plan as leading CEOs are challenging Obama's "workplace wellness" programs. Although Obamacare has largely been popular with big businesses in the US, its interference with business practices are proving ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 19th, 2014 Image

St. Nemesius
December 19: Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter