Global urbanicity is associated with brain and behaviour in young people

Nature human behaviour

Nat Hum Behav. 2021 Oct 28. doi: 10.1038/s41562-021-01204-7. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Urbanicity is a growing environmental challenge for mental health. Here, we investigate correlations of urbanicity with brain structure and function, neuropsychology and mental illness symptoms in young people from China and Europe (total n = 3,867). We developed a remote-sensing satellite measure (UrbanSat) to quantify population density at any point on Earth. UrbanSat estimates of urbanicity were correlated with brain volume, cortical surface area and brain network connectivity in the medial prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. UrbanSat was also associated with perspective-taking and depression symptoms, and this was mediated by neural variables. Urbanicity effects were greatest when urban exposure occurred in childhood for the cerebellum, and from childhood to adolescence for the prefrontal cortex. As UrbanSat can be generalized to different geographies, it may enable assessments of correlations of urbanicity with mental illness and resilience globally.

PMID:34711977 | DOI:10.1038/s41562-021-01204-7

Authors

Jiayuan Xu
Xiaoxuan Liu
Qiaojun Li
Ran Goldblatt
Wen Qin
Feng Liu
Congying Chu
Qiang Luo
Alex Ing
Lining Guo
Nana Liu
Huaigui Liu
Conghong Huang
Jingliang Cheng
Meiyun Wang
Zuojun Geng
Wenzhen Zhu
Bing Zhang
Weihua Liao
Shijun Qiu
Hui Zhang
Xiaojun Xu
Yongqiang Yu
Bo Gao
Tong Han
Guangbin Cui
Feng Chen
Junfang Xian
Jiance Li
Jing Zhang
Xi-Nian Zuo
Dawei Wang
Wen Shen
Yanwei Miao
Fei Yuan
Su Lui
Xiaochu Zhang
Kai Xu
Longjiang Zhang
Zhaoxiang Ye
Tobias Banaschewski
Gareth J Barker
Arun L W Bokde
Herta Flor
Antoine Grigis
Hugh Garavan
Penny Gowland
Andreas Heinz
Rüdiger Brühl
Jean-Luc Martinot
Eric Artiges
Frauke Nees
Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos
Herve Lemaitre
Tomáš Paus
Luise Poustka
Lauren Robinson
Sarah Hohmann
Juliane H Fröhner
Michael N Smolka
Henrik Walter
Robert Whelan
Jeanne Winterer
Kevin Patrick
Vince Calhoun
Mulin Jun Li
Meng Liang
Peng Gong
Edward D Barker
Nicholas Clinton
Andre Marquand
Le Yu
Chunshui Yu
Gunter Schumann
CHIMGEN
IMAGEN Consortia