"The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods." –Prof. Myrna Weissman
A recent study had some interesting findings in relation to the beneficial physical effects of faith on the human brain.
According to the Reuters report, the research found that "parts of the brain's outer layer, the cortex, were thicker in high-risk study participants (those with a family history of depression) who said religion or spirituality was 'important' to them versus those who cared less about religion."
The findings might suggest that having faith (but not necessarily church attendance) could actually make the brain more resistant to depression "in a very physical way," said the report.
Professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University and chief of the Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology department at New York State Psychiatric Institute, Myrna Weissman worked on the study.
Weissman told Reuters Health, "Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this. The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods."
She explained that her team is now looking into whether or not the size of the cortex changes with the participants' level of "religiosity or spirituality."
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