A reader, Haar, requested my take on this story:
Researchers have discovered that two areas of the brain are directly affected by city living, leading to a greater risk of anxiety and mood disorders.My take? It has to be nonsense. It just can't be true. Why would living in city cause you stress? Or, at least, more stress than living in a forest with angry bears and hungry big cats? Indeed, baboons are stressed by this kind of living, living in a state of nature. The city is totally human. The steps in an apartment building are for human feet, the door knobs afford human hands, the bed is for a human back (a horse would crush a mattress, abhor a toilet bowl), the window is there for you, the streets are paved for your modes of transportation. This urban world didn't fall on you; it sprang from you. The woods are alienating. The river hates you. The water flowing from a tap in the kitchen loves you so much. The city is a humanized river. From Chengerai Hove’s novel/poem Bones: “If the city is so frightening as you say… why are so many people living there?”
It was already known that city living is associated with poorer mental health - but not how or why. The new study provides some clues.
"The risk for anxiety disorders is 21 percent higher for people from the city, who also have a 39 percent increase for mood disorders," says co-author Jens Pruessner, a researcher at McGill's Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal.