Neurologists have discovered a lack of gray matter in the brains of risk lovers
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Neurologists have discovered a lack of gray matter in the brains of risk lovers

29 January , 17:16SciencePhoto: Michigan Health Blog - Michigan Medicine
Neurologists at the University of Zurich have discovered functional and anatomical features in the brains of those who are prone to smoking, alcohol or drug use, and have many sexual partners.

The authors of the new large-scale study, reported by the Daily Mail, relied on material from the British Biobank: they used data from 12,675 people of European origin, and scientists checked the results on data from another 12,000.

Neurologists have looked at four types of risky behavior: smoking, drinking, sexual promiscuity, and speeding.

It turned out that there is no one “risk zone” in the brain: high tolerance for dangerous behavior is explained by the structural features of several areas at once. Among them, the hypothalamus, which is responsible for the memory of the hippocampus and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which affects self-control, is associated with the regulation of the "happiness hormone". Differences were also found in the structure of the amygdala, which controls the emotional response to danger, and the striatum (ventral striatum), which is activated when receiving pleasure and reward. Some differences were found in the cerebellum, which plays an important role in decision-making processes.

In each of these areas, those with risk aversion had less gray matter than more cautious people.

The research results are published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

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