This may come as no surprise to residents of New York City and other big urban centers: Living there can be bad for your mental health.Now researchers have found a possible reason why. Imaging scans show that in city dwellers or people who grew up in urban areas, certain areas of the brain react more vigorously to stress. That may help explain how city life can boost the risks of schizophrenia and other mental disorders, researchers said.
Previous research has found that growing up in a big city raises the risk of schizophrenia.
And there's some evidence that city dwellers are at heightened risk for mood and anxiety disorders, although the evidence is mixed.
In any case, the volunteers scanned in the new study were healthy, and experts said that while the city-rural differences in brain activity were intriguing, the results fall short of establishing a firm tie to mental illness.
The study, done in Germany and published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, focused on how the brain reacts to stress caused by other people.
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