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Does religion protects against depression?

Religion and spirituality may be able to protect people from the onset of depression, as now shown a study from the United States. However, this does not apply to all concerned persons.

DepressionA research team headed by Dr. Lisa Miller of Columbia University in New York has found that people who have a especially high risk for the development of depression due to family history, are protected by their faith in some extent before the onset of the disease. In a study, group of scientists have found that for patients with high-risk of depression religion is particularly important risk of developing depression reduced on 90 percent than in people without the penchant for Religion and Spirituality.

Now the researchers want to find out how Religion and Spirituality are reflected in the brain structure. Just three years earlier Miller and her colleagues had discovered that subjects in the high-risk group had in certain brain regions a thinner cortex than others. The brain areas in participants with high depression risk more accurately targeted for the study of religion.

–°orrelation between thickness of cortex and predisposition to religion.

In the study, which is already launched over 30 years ago, were took part 100 adults of age 18-54. 67 volunteers belonged to the group at high risk of a major depression, 36 participants for the low-risk group. The subjects were repeatedly interviewed during the study on the topic of their attitude towards faith and spirituality. 25 years after the study began a MRI scan of the brain has show that exist determined correlation between cortex thickness and religiosity.

It was found that the participants, who have a high priority for the faith, have thicker cortex in certain brain regions compared with participants, for which religion was not so important. This was true, but only for high-risk patients. However since was discovered that a thickness of cortex associated with lower rates of depression, the authors of study conclude that religion and spirituality may have some protective effect, especially in the most vulnerable patients.

The researchers had to make one limitation: their study does not allow direct conclusions about the causality of their results. So scientists can not say exactly is it religiosity contributes to thickening of the cortex, or a thickness of cortex is partly responsible for the the emergence of interest for religion and spirituality in people.