Does living in a city make you crazy?
Seems so, at times. There is now some research showing that people who live in cities react more negatively to stress than those who reside in smaller towns. As a result, the study finds that people who were born and raised in cities may have a greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders.
City people reacted more vigorously to stress in the study. Volunteers were hooked up to brain scanners and then asked to solve math problems. The problems weren’t easy (as the volunteers had expected) and the subjects got most of the answers wrong.
While attached to the scanner and trying to answer the math questions, the volunteers heard researchers criticize their performance, saying that it was disappointing and that they might be booted out of the study. The response to criticism was measured by activity in the amygdala, which reacts to threats in the environment. Urban dwellers showed higher activity than did those who lived in smaller towns. The AP reports:
The study can’t reveal why city life would boost the brain responses, but it could be because of the stress from dealing with other people, said Dr. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, and senior author of the report. Animal studies suggest that early exposure to stress can cause lasting effects, he said.
• The Interior Department is questioning a coal swap between Montana’s Northern Cheyenne tribe and Houston-based Great Northern Properties.
Great Northern would get twice as much coal in the swap as it would give the tribe, although not all that coal is mineable.
• DTN’s Urban Lehner gives a good rundown on the farm bill. Lehner notes that the House has already cut the nutrition and conservation parts of the farm program — but have left the agricultural subsidy section be.
If the Senate meets the House even halfway in cutting conservation, nutrition, research and rural development, those cuts could affect the “baseline” for the 2012 farm bill, making it that much more difficult for Congress to find funds for them in the future. Then, too, most of the good men and women on the Congressional ag committees represent farm districts. It won’t be in their re-election interests to take money from farm programs in favor of, say, food aid.
Advocates of the other two legs of the stool know all this. Their always shaky alliances with farm interests will be even shakier next year. If the coalition doesn’t hold, if it’s every interest for itself on the House and Senate floors, farm interests will suffer.
• A University of Kentucky program is trying to reduce cervical cancer deaths in Appalachia by working through local churches. The Faith Moves Mountains project calls it “faith based” interventions.
• As of Friday morning, Minot, North Dakota, was learning that a bad flood was getting a heck of a lot worse.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had expected 9,700 cubic feet per second to course through Minot, reaching a crest of 1,555.1 feet above sea level.
Now the Corps is saying there will be 29,000 cfs flowing through Minot by Saturday and the crest will be nine feet higher than predicted.