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City Living May Shape How the Brain Processes Stress

Joan Stephenson, PhD
JAMA. 2011;306(3):256. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1000.
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Living or growing up in a city is associated with differences in how the brain handles social stress, a team of German and Canadian neuroscientists has found in a small study (Lederbogen F et al. Nature. 2011;474[7352]498-501).

Mood and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in city dwellers, and the incidence of schizophrenia is substantially higher among persons raised in cities. But the processes underlying these effects have been largely unknown.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brain of 32 healthy student volunteers as they performed arithmetic calculations and heard critical comments about their performance. Measurements of heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels indicated that the volunteers were indeed experiencing stress during the experiment.


brain ; stress

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