Navigation Links
Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study

WEDNESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who say they've had a life-changing religious experience are more likely to have a greater decrease in size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain critical to learning and memory, new research finds.

According to the study, people who said they were a "born-again" Protestant or Catholic, or conversely, those who had no religious affiliation, had more hippocampal shrinkage (or "atrophy") compared to people who identified themselves as Protestants, but not born-again.

The study is published online in PLoS ONE.

As people age, a certain amount of brain atrophy is expected. Shrinkage of the hippocampus is also associated with depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

In the study, researchers asked 268 people aged 58 to 84 about their religious affiliation, spiritual practices and life-changing religious experiences. Over the course of two to eight years, changes to the hippocampus were monitored using MRI scans.

The researchers suggested that stress over holding religious beliefs that fall outside of the mainstream may help explain the findings.

"One interpretation of our finding -- that members of majority religious groups seem to have less atrophy compared with minority religious groups -- is that when you feel your beliefs and values are somewhat at odds with those of society as a whole, it may contribute to long-term stress that could have implications for the brain," Amy Owen, lead author of the study and a research associate at Duke University Medical Center, said in a Duke news release.

The study authors also suggested that life-changing religious experiences could challenge a person's established religious beliefs, triggering stress.

"Other studies have led us to think that whether a new experience you consider spiritual is interpreted as comforting or stressful may depend on whether or not it fits in with your existing religious beliefs and those of the people around you," David Hayward, research associate at Duke University Medical Center, added. "Especially for older adults, these unexpected new experiences may lead to doubts about long-held religious beliefs, or to disagreements with friends and family."

The researchers noted other factors related to hippocampal atrophy, such as age, depression or brain size, as well as other religious factors such as prayer or meditation, could not explain the study's findings.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides details on brain atrophy.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, May 19, 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. What do policymakers know about the factors influencing peoples well-being?
2. Biting back: Research could lead to mosquitoes being susceptible to diseases they transmit
3. Teen Boys With Autism at Risk of Being Bullied: Study
4. Being Housebound Linked to Alzheimers in Elderly
5. Effective pain management crucial to older adults well-being
6. Measles not being reported
7. Being in a good mood may lead to poor memory
8. DU researchers find that headway being made fighting communicable diseases globally
9. Report into well-being and inclusion of former politically motivated prisoners
10. 1 in 5 Patients at California ERs Leaves Without Being Seen
11. Maybe Scrooge Couldnt Help Being Hard-Hearted
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic ... World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. ... some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his Bachelors in ... School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps Green Hospital ... at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to train in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of ... AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay Area ... Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness ... and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, ... today announced the five finalists of Lyme ... disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed Care ... that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily ... make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that addresses ... medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in the ... the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... "The World Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics The World ... diagnostic and personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report ... Diagnostics Test Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: