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Anecdotally, many have suggested that “getting away from it all” to a country retreat reduces the stress of a busy urban lifestyle. A German group provides the first empirical evidence to support this notion. Healthy people were scanned using functional MRI while performing a paradigm inducing social stress. Participants who had grown up in an urban environment had greater amygdala activity in response to the task, known to signal negative affect and environmental stress, than people who had had a rural upbringing. Although German cities may be more stressful than British ones, should we bear this in mind when siting major neurological units?
Steroids for status?
Some rare and catastrophic childhood epilepsy syndromes are helped by corticosteroids, such as West's, Landau–Kleffner and Lennox–Gastaut syndromes. Researchers from America and Italy showed – in a pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus rat model – that dexamethasone protects …
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