Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponcomment this pageEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on Tumblrdelicious this pagetechnorati this pagefark this page

“I share, therfore i am!” – What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely? It’s a problem that seems to be growing just as fast as technology is advancing. The question that doctors and psychiatrists are pondering over is ‘as we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other?’

In a world where time is money, in which our surrounding heavily pressure us to achieve more, our social life becomes tainted and more demanding than ever before.

Social networks aren’t just changing what we are doing, but who we are. We are expecting more from technology and less from each other.

Changes in the brain’s white matter have been seen before in psychiatric disorders, and demyelinating disorders like multiple sclerosis have also had an association with depression. Recently, myelin changes were also seen in very young animals or adolescents responding to environmental changes.

But Karen Dietz, lead author on the study published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, said: ‘This research reveals for the first time a role for myelin in adult psychiatric disorders.

‘It demonstrates that plasticity in the brain is not restricted to neurons, but actively occurs in glial cells, such as the oligodendrocytes, which produce myelin.’

imlonely

Myelin is a crucial fatty material that wraps the axons of neurons, helping them signal effectively. Normal nerve function is lost in demyelinating disorders, such as MS and the rare, fatal childhood disease, Krabbe’s disease.

The paper revealed how the stress of social isolation disrupts the sequence in which the myelin-making cells, the oligodendrocytes, are formed.

In an experiment, adult mice (normally social animals) were isolated for eight weeks to induce a depressive-like state, before being introduced to a mouse they hadn’t met before.

While mice are normally highly motivated to be social, those who had been socially isolated did not show any interest in interacting with the new mouse, a typical model of social avoidance and withdrawal.

But we shouldn’t lose any sleep over our diminishing brain power, as by the time it becomes a real problem technology will have found a solution making natural selection obsolete, the researchers say in a paper published today in Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics.

Brain tissue analysis of the isolated animals revealed significantly lower than normal levels of gene transcription for oligodendrocyte cells in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for emotional and cognitive behavior.

‘This research provides the first explanation of the mechanism behind how this brain plasticity occurs showing how this change in the level of social interaction of the adult animal resulted in changes in oligodendrocytes,’ said Dr Dietz, a research scientist in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

lonely2

The key change was that cellular nuclei in the prefrontal cortex contained less heterochromatin, a tightly packed form of DNA material, which is unavailable for gene expression.

‘This process of DNA compaction is what signifies that the oligodendrocytes have matured, allowing them to produce normal amounts of myelin,’ Dr Dietz said. ‘We have observed in socially isolated animals that there isn’t as much compaction, and the oligodendrocytes look more immature.

‘As adults age, normally, you would see more compaction, but when social isolation interferes, there’s less compaction and therefore, less myelin being made.’

She added, however, that the research also showed that myelin production went back to normal after a period of social integration, suggesting that environmental intervention was sufficient to reverse the negative consequences of adult social isolation.

Dr Dietz said the findings have implications for future questions regarding MS and other myelin disorders.

‘This research suggests that maybe recovery from an MS episode might be enhanced by social interaction,’ she says. ‘This opens another avenue of investigation of how mood and myelin disorders may interact with one another.’

At a deeper level, though, loneliness research forces us to acknowledge our own extraordinary malleability in the face of social forces. This susceptibility is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Lonely3

(h/t: Daily Mail)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponcomment this pageEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on Tumblrdelicious this pagetechnorati this pagefark this page
futurism

If you’ve ever been to a hotel and thought “Hmm, nice but needs more rainforest” then you’ll be glad to hear about architecture studio ZAS Architects new…

tech

If you’re looking for some added horsepower on the cheap, then nitrous oxide is going to give it to you. But it doesn’t come without its dangers…

people

Death is always a difficult subject to bring up at the dinner table, but if ever the conversation ensues on what your preferred method of body disposal…

humor

There are only a few rules in life you have to remember, one of them is that no one can be more mean to you than your…

futurism

Ever since Marty McFly put on those Nike Mags with power laces in Back to the Future II, the world has been waiting for Nike to release…

humor

When visiting a new country got the first time it’s always a good idea to brush-up on the local customs, just in case your innocent actions happen…

politics

You may or may not be aware that there has been a two campaign going on called #FreeTheNipple. And it’s not just about women going topless in…

sports

She may only be 8-years-old but Sky Brown from Miyazaki, Japan recently became the youngest ever girl to skate with the pros at the Vans US Open…

animals

Sometimes you get yourself into very tricky situations and need help to get out, the same goes for animals. It could have ended very differently for this…

animation

Out of this summer’s crop of superhero and blockbuster movies, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War was one of the best, received favorably by fans and movie critics…

culture

Do you like your food like you like your bedroom, everything totally organized and in it’s place and not a single thing out of line? Does this…

animals

Dogs and cats, it’s never going to be an easy relationship, with 2 completely different personalities and outlooks on how to adapt to domestic life you feel…

Loading...