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Stress in the City--Researchers Observe Brain Activity and Identify Biology Behind Mood Disorders of Urbanites

Being born and raised in a major urban area is associated with greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders. Until now, the biology for these associations had not been described. A new international study, which involved Douglas Mental Health University Institute researcher Jens Pruessner, is the first to show that two distinct brain regions that regulate emotion and stress are affected by city living. These findings, published in Nature may lead to strategies that improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

“Previous findings have shown that the risk for anxiety disorders is 21 percent higher for people from the city, who also have a 39 percent increase for mood disorders,” says co-author Jens Pruessner, a Douglas researcher. “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.”

Distinct brain structures
Pruessner, with his colleagues from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, looked at the brain activity of healthy volunteers from urban and rural areas. In a series of functional magnetic resonance experiments, they showed that city living was associated with greater stress responses in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved with emotional regulation and mood. In contrast, urban upbringing was found to be associated with activity in the cingulate cortex, a region involved in regulation of negative affect and stress.

Stress:ストレス Researchers:研究者 Brain:脳 Activity:活動 Biology:生物学 Mood Disorders:気分障害 Urbanites:都市生活者
urban:都会の (be) raised:育つ is associated with:~と関連している anxiety:不安 regulate:~を制御する lead to:~をもたらす strategies:方策 quality of life:生活の質 city dwellers:都市生活者
co-author:共著者 In addition:加えて incidence:発症率 schizophrenia:統合失調症
are brought up:育てられる remedy:~を修正する
colleagues:同僚 Mental Health:精神衛生 a series of:一連の functional magnetic resonance:機能的核磁気共鳴 experiments:実験 amygdala:扁桃体 In contrast:一方 upbringing:育ち cingulate cortex:帯状回皮質



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