December 31, 2013
PET scan of a depressed and non-depressed brain (Source: WebMD)
A study conducted by Professor Myrna Weissman of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric institute reveals, religious people’s brains are at a lower risk for depression, as “Parts of the brain’s outer layer, the cortex, were thicker in high-risk study participants who said religion or spirituality was “important” to them versus those who cared less about religion.”
One has heard the phrase regarding having a thick skin. Now we have a thick cerebral “cortex.” Studies have been done using PET scans to show the differences in a depressed brain and one that is in a better frame of mind. The scans show the variations between the two, indicating depression is real.
Some are told it’s all in their minds, as in something imagined. However, depression is quite real. Depressed people need prayer, hope and therapy. Talking out one’s problems helps. Keeping things in perspective, knowing that you have a future and things can and will get better, also makes a difference. You must always carry on, moving forward in life.
Thicker brain sections tied to spirituality: study
December 31, 2013 – NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For people at high risk of depression because of a family history, spirituality may offer some protection for the brain, a new study hints. Parts of the brain’s outer layer, the cortex, were thicker in high-risk study participants who said religion or spirituality was “important” to them versus those who cared less about religion.
“Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this,” Myrna Weissman told Reuters Health. “The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods.” Weissman, who worked on the new study, is a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University and chief of the Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology department at New York State Psychiatric institute.
While the new study suggests a link between brain thickness and religiosity or spirituality, it cannot say that thicker brain regions cause people to be religious or spiritual, Weissman and her colleagues note in JAMA Psychiatry. It might hint, however, that religiosity can enhance the brain’s resilience against depression in a very physical way, they write.
Previously, the researchers had found that people who said they were religious or spiritual were at lower risk of depression. They also found that people at higher risk for depression had thinning cortices, compared to those with lower depression risk…