Not to invoke an argument, but the TFA talks about listening to sermons and reading the bible.
No. Here is what it says.
"Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University and a professor of psychiatry"... author of "The Healing Power of Faith", "Faith and Mental Health"... "Listening to sermons and reading religious works like the Bible may also invoke a cognitive benefit, Koenig said."
I.e. Faith guy says maybe faith good for brain.
Also, that Discovery article is crap.
That "One recent study, published in December of 2013 in JAMA Psychiatry" - no it wasn't.
And which study does this sentence refer to? The supposed December 2013 JAMA one (actually published in February 2014) or the 2011 one?
And while a 2011 study found a shrinking of the hippocampus among people of certain religions, Koenig, a co-author of the study, points out that no one has replicated that work yet.
Cause, it either says that Koenig is a co-author of the JAMA study (which he isn't, but which is no made clear anywhere in the article which doesn't even name the study it discusses) and he disagrees with the data from the 2011 study...
OR, he is a co-author of 2011 study (which he was) which says that certain religious people have a shrinking hippocampus.
With which he disagrees as well, pointing out "no one has replicated that work yet".
Koenig is essentially saying "Fuck my study which shows how religion may actually be bad for your brain. Don't look at it. Nothing to see there. Not replicated. Bad study. Bad!"
Also, everything Koenig and that other guy who had nothing to do with the study (he apparently has not even read it) but they asked him to comment on it anyway, Dr. Majid Fotuhi, said about the social effect... pure bullshit.
From the actual study:
Importance of religion or spirituality, but not frequency of attendance, was associated with thicker cortices in the left and right parietal and occipital regions, the mesial frontal lobe of the right hemisphere, and the cuneus and precuneus in the left hemisphere, independent of familial risk.
Going to church does not matter. How much you THINK that religion or spirituality matter to you matters.