At the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford Hospital, we recently found something unexpected with our data. In a set of MRIs from 3,279 healthy adults over 15 years, our study found that certain parts of the brain appear to get larger in summer and smaller in winter. Other parts of the brain appear to do the opposite.
This study seemed to show that something seasonal was happening. For people suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a study indicating that the brain itself is changing is, well, mind-blowing. This study was only possible because of the availability of a dataset large enough to observe the effect. Such datasets often surprise scientists. We need to do more with them.