- The cortex is thicker in people who are religious than in those who aren't
- This thickening could provide some protection against depression
- Suggests being religious enhances the brain's resilience against depression in a physical way
They say religion is a matter of the heart – but it seems the shape of our brains could also have a role to play.
Believers or those with a spiritual side have ‘thicker’ sections of brain tissue than other people, a study suggests.
And in welcome news for the faithful, the researchers think that this thickening could also help to stave off depression.
People who are religious have 'thicker' brains - the cortex of their brains is deeper
‘Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this,’ Dr Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, told Reuters Health.
‘The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods.’
While the new study suggests a link between brain thickness and spirituality, it cannot say that thicker brain regions cause people to be religious or spiritual, Dr Weissman and her colleague.
You could be forgiven for having consigned it to the rubbish bin a decade or two ago.
But if you do still happen to have a 1986 calendar lying around, you’re in luck. Because while the vintage pictures may seem a little out of date, the dates themselves will match up perfectly with the year ahead.
The dates of 1986 are exactly aligned with the dates of 2014 – so anyone who does discover a dusty 27-year-old calendar in the cupboard will find it is a perfect fit all over again.