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.’

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.

facebook_eye

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.

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.’

Lonely3

(h/t: DailyMail.co.uk)

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
tech

Chances are, if you were a bit of a nerdy kid you got into Lego Technic. Chances are you’re probably still into it as an adult. One…

people

OK, it’s time for a tearjerker and if this video doesn’t make you well up with emotion you must be a robot. Six months ago two year…

tech

A new app has been released which aims to clear up the issue of whether that drunken sex you had the other night was entirely consensual. Yep,…

entertainment

So the endless summer’s pretty much officially over and for some of us it means returning to a life of learning and focusing all your attention on…

futurism

Intel has been holding a Make It Wearable (MIW) Challenge to encourage people to come up with innovative wearable devices. One of the finalists of the project…

music

I know i’m probably alone in saying this but “I hate Harry Potter films”, yep, all of them. It must be some gene malfunction i suffer from,…

humor

Donald Trump was hilariously trolled recently by Twitter user Philip Bradbury, who asked Trump to retweet a picture of his deceased “parents” who were hugely inspired by…

humor

Being a parent is quite possibly one of the hardest things you may ever have to do (or rather endure) in your life—and there is no hard…

music

When it comes to heavy metal music, you need to find the right environment to get the full enjoyment out of it. You might think that would…

entertainment

It’s a fact that some women hate, men just LOVE their workshop, it’s a place for them to go, away from the routine of the household and…

culture

Like me, i bet all of you thought that Facebook, the social media platform of the masses, was just a place where you looked at pictures of…

funny pics

Thumb Faces: If you didn’t know what that means then prepare to take a crash-course in how to go from beautiful to ugly instantly by changing the…

x
Like smash.com on Facebook

Get it in your News Feed before everyone else.