Religion May Cause Brain Atrophy
Faith can open your mind but it can also cause your brain to shrink at a different rate, research suggests. Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in the US claim to have discovered a correlation between religious practices and changes in the brains of older adults. The study, published in the open-access science journal, Public Library of Science ONE, asked 268 people aged 58 to 84 about their religious group, spiritual practices and life-changing religious experiences. Changes in the volume of their hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, were tracked using MRI scans, over two to eight years. Protestants who did not identify themselves as born-again were found to have less atrophy in the hippocampus region than did born-again Protestants, Catholics or those with no religious affiliation. Although the brain tends to shrink with age, atrophy in the hippocampus has been linked with depression and Alzheimer's disease.
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