Don't worry about it
August 9, 2001
Sylvia Westphal / New Scientist



Fret about things too much and it could make your brain shrink faster than normal.

It's a sad fact of life that our brains begin to shrink after adolescence, and scientists suspected that stressful events could make things worse. Now Brian Knutson and colleagues at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism near Washington DC have confirmed this link in people with no mental illness.

The researchers measured brain shrinkage in 86 people. After controlling for factors known to affect brain size, they found a significant link between smaller brains and neurotic behaviour. Their work will appear in Biological Psychiatry. Knutson says musician Bobby McFerrin probably had the best advice for neurotics when he sang "Don't worry, be happy."

(source: New Scientist, Vol. 171, Issue 2307, August 9, 2001, p. 23