Ah yang benar? Pernah baca “Religious Factors and Hippocampal Atrophy in Late Life”? Ini adalah sebuah penelitian neurologi/neurosains yang diterbitkan 30 Maret 2011. Penelitian ini sebenarnya berusaha menemukan hubungan antara struktur dan volume neuroanatomi dalam otak manusia dengan pengalaman-pengalaman spiritual (yang mengubah kehidupan seseorang), aktivitas-aktifitas keagamaan, dan keanggotaan dalam suatu komunitas keagamaan.
Abstrak jurnal tersebut menuliskan demikian:
Despite a growing interest in the ways spiritual beliefs and practices are reflected in brain activity, there have been relatively few studies using neuroimaging data to assess potential relationships between religious factors and structural neuroanatomy. This study examined prospective relationships between religious factors and hippocampal volume change using high-resolution MRI data of a sample of 268 older adults. Religious factors assessed included life-changing religious experiences, spiritual practices, and religious group membership. Hippocampal volumes were analyzed using the GRID program, which is based on a manual point-counting method and allows for semi-automated determination of region of interest volumes. Significantly greater hippocampal atrophy was observed for participants reporting a life-changing religious experience. Significantly greater hippocampal atrophy was also observed from baseline to final assessment among born-again Protestants, Catholics, and those with no religious affiliation, compared with Protestants not identifying as born-again. These associations were not explained by psychosocial or demographic factors, or baseline cerebral volume. Hippocampal volume has been linked to clinical outcomes, such as depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The findings of this study indicate that hippocampal atrophy in late life may be uniquely influenced by certain types of religious factors.
Siapa saja yang diteliti? Ada 268 orang laki-laki dan perempuan berusia 58 tahun ke atas, dan dikelompokkan berdasarkan beberapa faktor:
Religious factors assessed at baseline included (1) frequency of public worship, (2) frequency of private religious activity (prayer, meditation, or Bible study), (3) religious group membership. Religious factors assessed at baseline and annually included (4) born-again status and (5) life-changing religious experiences. Born-again status was assessed with the question, “Are you a born-again Christian?” This was defined as: “A conversion experience, i.e., a specific occasion when you dedicated your life to Jesus.” Participants responding no were assessed for life-changing religious experiences with the question, “Have you ever had any other religious experience that changed your life?” Participants’ responses changed over time; thus were categorized as: 1) no born again status or life-changing religious experience, 2) baseline born-again status, 3) new born-again status (i.e., responded no to born-again question at baseline, but yes at a later interview), 4) baseline life-changing religious experience, and 5) new life-changing religious experience. Religious group membership was classified as Catholic, Protestant, Other, or None. Because of the high degree of overlap between Protestant group membership and born-again status, the Protestant group was further divided into born-again and non born-again subcategories.
Nah, hasil penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa orang-orang Kristen yang banyak mengalami “pengalaman-pengalaman spiritual” ternyata mengalami penyusutan ukuran hippokampus otak. Padahal hippokampus berperan besar terlibat dalam pembentukan emosi dan formasi memori.
The findings of this study indicate that certain religious factors may influence longitudinal change in hippocampal volume during late life. Greater hippocampal atrophy over time was predicted by baseline identification as born-again Protestants, Catholics, or no religious affiliation, compared with Protestants who were not born-again. Greater hippocampal atrophy was also predicted by reports at baseline of having had life-changing religious experiences … Atrophy in this region has important clinical implications, having been identified as a marker of late life mental health problems such as depression and dementia.
Okay, kalau mau baca jurnal aslinya bisa diunduh di sini. Sementara saya tinggalkan Anda dengan jurnal yang menarik ini, silakan dibaca dan dicermati, lain waktu akan kita diskusikan ya.
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