Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/2/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Health

Paging Dr. Frankenstein! Human head transplant possible in just two years Watch

Image of Dr. Sergio Canavero said he would expect the patient to be able to move and feel their face when they awoke, they would speak with the same voice. They would be able to walk within a year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The procedure would be beneficial to humankind - and help those who are stricken with devastating disease. When we learn of the process, however, the first thing to pop into our heads is hunchbacked assistants and green-faced monsters. A human heads transplant ... continue reading


Shocking 'medical miracle' birth startles doctors and parents Watch

Image of (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles)

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Now dubbed a "medical miracle," the birth of Silas Philips took doctors by surprise when he was born still inside his amniotic sac. Silas' birth miracle is extremely rare, only 1 in 80,000 births are similar to his. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When his mother ... continue reading


New pill dramatically cuts risk for AIDS transmission in homosexual men Watch

Image of Some 545 HIV-negative gay men, who were sexually active and had recently had unprotected sex, were recruited to the study.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A daily pill, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP has been found to dramatically cut a person's risk of contracting HIV. Following a trial in the United Kingdom, advocates say the drug must be made available as soon as possible. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


AT RISK: Formula-fed babies at risk for ingesting ARSENIC Watch

Image of While arsenic in home tap water was a source of the naturally occurring chemical, poisonous in large doses, the formula itself was a contributing factor as well.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Breastfeeding has long been deemed the healthiest nursing option for newborns. A new study from Dartmouth College bears this out: According to researchers, arsenic levels were more than seven times higher in formula-fed babies than in breastfed ones. LOS ... continue reading


Unbelievable: Secret to success may lie in your sleeping habits Watch

Image of New studies show the most successful people receive little sleep at night.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Traditional research advises people between 18-64 years old get seven to nine hours of sleep for a healthy lifestyle. New studies are showing that some of the most successful and smartest people in the world rarely even get half of that amount of sleep a night. LOS ... continue reading


Closing door and throwing away the key: HIV vaccine proves SUCCESSFUL in monkeys Watch

Image of Given the drug, the test monkeys were able to fend off high, repeated doses of the simian version of the disease.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Comparing it to locking up an intruder and throwing away the key, scientists now say they have created an anti-HIV drug so powerful that it could work as a vaccine. The test trials have proven to be highly successful in Macaque monkeys.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Women are at risk: Dementia affects more women than men, quickly becoming number one killer Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

500,000 women are affected by dementia. This is compared to the 350,000 men who are afflicted. Dementia is quickly surpassing breast cancer or heart disease; it is becoming the newest disease that favors women. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Not only is dementia ... continue reading


Unable to feel pain, rare medical condition haunts man's life with horrifying injuries Watch

Image of Undergoing a series of tests throughout his lifetime, it was not until 2011 that Steve Pete was given the genetic tests confirmed he and his brother Chris had genetic mutations of the SCN9A gene.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Steve Pete's parents knew something was wrong with their child when he chewed part of his tongue off while he was a baby. Pete suffers from a rare condition known as congenital analgesia, where he is unable to feel pain. Unable to detect physical discomfort, ... continue reading


Don't throw away those glasses yet! Lasik eye surgery found imperfect, even dangerous Watch

Image of The results of bad eye laser surgery include the necessitating of several glasses for both near and far-sighted vision, dry eyes and blurring of light sources at night.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lasik eye surgery, where vision defects are cured with lasers, has a high success rate. However, anyone who undergoes the procedure must carefully weigh the risks. Those for whom the procedure fails must wear several glasses afterwards and suffer ailments. The ... continue reading


SAVING THOUSANDS OF LIVES: Medicare to cover lung cancer screening Watch

Image of A report projected that paying for lung cancer screening would cost Medicare $9 billion over five years, or about $3 per month per beneficiary.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A move that many are hailing as one that will save tens of thousands of lives, Medicare said this week that it will pay for lung cancer screening for people at the highest risk. Lung cancer remains the top cancer death for men in the United States and ... 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, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
4 I pleaded with Yahweh my God and made this ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
15 Costly in Yahweh's sight is the death of his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 9:2-10
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:31-34
31 After saying this, what can we add? If God is for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 1st, 2015 Image

St. David
March 1: According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of ... 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