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Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy

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posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 02:06 PM
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www.philly.com...




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.


I found this pretty interesting I have encountered quite a few long term alcoholics who said they had experienced this phenomenon and I always wondered if it was do to damage from the alcohol and/or drugs. Many people who arent addicts and alcoholics experience this but it seems to be much more common amongst people who use volatile substances that have harsh effects on their brains. Anyway turns out that those who have had those eye opening religious experiences are just suffering brain damage.




posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by lobotomizemecapin
Anyway turns out that those who have had those eye opening religious experiences are just suffering brain damage.


Really? I'm not religious, but is insulting people like that really necessary? Also, did you even actually read the article you posted, or did you just read the headline and came to your own conclusion?


"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. "



posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by Astrithr
 





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 article is talking about those that have the "religious experience" having atrophy. I posted the story because having spent a time in rehab myself many people claimed that they had this "religious experience" and people that have them tend to gear more toward the more extreme and bizarre forms of religion. Go be a tool somewhere else if you dont like the thread



posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by lobotomizemecapin
 

I'm not being a tool (is that even an appropriate insult for a female? lol), just trying to understand how you came to the conclusion that religious experiences are a result of brain damage when the study clearly doesn't state that.
Correlation =/= causation!



posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 02:59 PM
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]reply to post by Astrithr
 




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

HAHA yeah a woman can be a tool but this says it may help explain the findings meaning they havent researched that factor yet.



posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 03:09 PM
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I'd say from my experience that people who are struggling to make ends meet all day have little time to study and learn a lot of new stuff.

Jobs have been outsourced to labor brokers and casualization with few rights to normal working hours, and people who have their own businesses are also highly committed.

So people who fall into such categories and try to raise families since they left school simply don't have the chance to read a lot or study.
These are also the people who tend to fall into fashionable streams of religion.
They get quick answers from many "born again" preachers and streams.
A lot of them are not really hard-core believers.

So I'd say a lot of people fall into such religions with little knowledge.
"Born Again" Christianity is pretty much the average norm.
However some Christians are highly knowledgeable, so it's not true in all cases.
But a lot of people atrophy before they join religions.
edit on 5-6-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)




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