Different parts of the brain are used depending on where you live.
People born and bred in cities were more likely to suffer anxiety or mood disorders than their rural counterparts. People living in the countryside are less likely to suffer stress and anxiety than city dwellers because their brains are wired differently, a study has found.
The biological reasons were unknown, but new research, reported in Nature, shows different parts of the brain are used depending on where you live.
City residents place more stress on the amygdala, which is involved with emotional regulation and mood, whereas country dwellers show more activity in the cingulate cortex – associated with regulating stress.
Dr Jens Pruessner, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, said: “Previous findings have shown that the risk for anxiety disorders is 21 per cent higher for people from the city, who also have a 39 per cent increase for mood disorders.
“In addition, the incidence for schizophrenia is almost doubled for individuals who are born and brought up in cities.
“These values are a cause for concern and determining the biology behind this is the first step to remedy the trend.”
He and colleagues studied a series of brain scans from healthy volunteers from rural and urban areas to reach their conclusion.
Dr Pruessner said: “These findings suggest that different brain regions are sensitive to the experience of city living during different times across the lifespan.
“Future studies need to clarify the link between psychopathology and these affects in individuals with mental disorders.
“These findings contribute to our understanding of urban environmental risk for mental disorders and health in general.
“They further point to a new approach to interface social sciences, neurosciences and public policy to respond to the major health challenge of urbanisation.”
Photo credit: blog.petafop.de