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
humor

Sometimes we all need a little motivation in our lives, something to boost your self-esteem and pump you ego in order for you to go out into…

entertainment

Forget your order of Sloppy Giuseppe and doughballs when you go out for pizza, if there are two things that are really going to get people excited…

futurism

Keeping the planet green might be a big thing down here on terra firma, but it doesn’t seem to be so much of an issue once you…

animals

We all loved our cuddly toys when we were very young and most of us probably had a cute stuffed toy that we couldn’t live without (do…

culture

Alfredo Roagui is a Mexican artist who happens to be a gay man and also happens to be a fan of Disney. So he decided to combine…

people

Next time you get into an argument over whether unicorns ever existed or not and your friends try to shame you because you choose to ‘believe‘, give…

animals

Dogs, much like their owners, come in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes those sizes are huge. And I mean HUGE. So big are these dogs that…

gaming

Grand Theft Auto V is a game that just keeps on giving thanks in no part to the endless PC mods that are being created and the…

people

A wedding is a special day and you want something to remember it by. That might be some affectionate photos of you and your recently betrothed staring…

entertainment

How do you appeal to the younger generation in an attempt to show them smoking is bad, mmkay? One way might be to gather together Vine stars…

animals

Biologists are taking to Twitter to duke it out and post pictures of what they consider to be the cutest animal species ever in what’s been dubbed…

funny videos

Cats are adorable creatures, a definite family favorite, the same could almost be said about the classic video game Street Fighter, an arcade beat-em-up where good guys…