Interestingly enough, this item comes to you courtesy of the kooks at WorldNet Daily. Not really the kind of thing you’d expect to find there among the ads for hardcore survivalist supply companies, books like “The Islamic Invasion” and anti-Obamacare PACs, but there it was…
According to WND a study published last year found that a part of the brain atrophied more rapidly in Catholics and “born-agains” than it did in more “mainline” Protestants.
The study called “Religious Factors and Hippocampal Atrophy in Late Life” was published online by the Public Library of Science last year. Since then, it’s been mentioned by blogs and medical sites but generally has not reached into mainstream reporting.
“The findings of this study indicate that hippocampal atrophy in late life may be uniquely influenced by certain types of religious factors,” write the authors, led by Amy D. Owen of the Center for the Study of Aging at Duke University. Several of her colleagues joined in the report.
The review noted that there have been few studies regarding the relationship between religious factors and structural neuroanatomy, “despite a growing interest in the ways spiritual beliefs and practices are reflected in brain activity.”
The piece goes on for a bit in a more or less neutral “journalistic” tone, then concludes with an explanation (of sorts) that is more in line with what we think of as the typical kooky WorldNet Daily party line:
“This study is among the first to examine religious and spiritual correlates of structural neuroanatomy, identifying several understudied factors associated with hippocampal atrophy,” said the analysis. “Religious factors, including religious group membership and life-changing religious experiences, but not frequency of public and private religious practices, were longitudinally associated with hippocampal atrophy.
“Atrophy in this region has important clinical implications, having been identified as a marker of late life mental health problems such as depression and dementia. These results may reflect an impact of cumulative stress on hippocampal volume.”
That Christians face stress is no surprise.
Newberg cited “persecution,” and a survey done for WND last year showed that 49.2 percent consider the legal activism against Christians and their beliefs regarding homosexuality in the United States to be “persecution.”
And that “persecution,” according to just about one in three Democrats, is “necessary.”
That many Christians seem to honestly believe that they are the targets of persecution for their blinkered and bigoted views on homosexuality is plenty of evidence of atrophied brains, if you ask me…