Tuesday February 25, 2020

Social Isolation Can Lead to Increase in Stress

Researchers have found that long-term chronic isolation causes the build-up of a chemical in the brain, that increases stress, aggression, and fear.

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But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation.
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have found that long-term chronic isolation causes the build-up of a chemical in the brain, that increases stress, aggression, and fear.

The mice isolated for two weeks showed behavioral changes like increased aggressiveness towards unfamiliar mice, persistent fear, and hypersensitivity to threatening stimuli.

When encountering a threatening stimulus, mice that have been socially isolated remain frozen in place long after the threat has passed, whereas normal mice stop freezing soon after the threat is removed, the research said.

Although the study was done in mice, it has potential implications for understanding how chronic stress affects humans and has potential applications for treating mental health disorders, said lead author Moriel Zelikowsky, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology in the US.

social isolation
A new study suggests meditation can reduce stress and anxiety. VOA

Previous studies have determined that social isolation for two weeks in mice resulted in the upregulation of the signaling molecule neuropeptide, tachykinin 2 (Tac2)/neurokinin B (NkB) — a short protein molecule.

In the new study, published in the journal Cell, the team found that chronic isolation leads to an increase in Tac2 gene expression and the production of a neuropeptide called neurokinin B (NkB) throughout the brain.

But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation.

Also Read: Father’s Stress Linked To Kids’ Brain Development

On the other hand, artificially increasing Tac2 levels and activating the corresponding neurons in normal, animals led them to behave like isolated and stressed, the research showed.

Suppressing the Tac2 gene in certain different brain parts, increased fear behaviors, or aggression accordingly, implying that it must increase in different brain regions to produce the various effects of social isolation, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Know About the Various Sleep Disorders

Having trouble sleeping? It could be a sleep disorder

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Sleep Disorders
It is essential in promoting heart health, muscle repair, cognitive consolidation and limits the onset of sleep disorders. Lifetime Stock

A good nights sleep is extremely significant to our health. If you do not get enough sleep, or sleep at an incorrect time, or sleep in breaks or have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, this may cause sleep deficiency.

Quality sleep helps regulate a healthy immune system as well as hormones Ghrelin and Leptin that help balance appetite. On average, an adult should sleep for at least seven-nine hours.

The body’s blood pressure is permitted to regulate itself through adequate sleep. It is essential in promoting heart health, muscle repair, cognitive consolidation and limits the onset of sleep disorders. Due to our current lifestyles, we might face trouble sleeping at night; we tend to ignore the signs until the problem escalates.

Sleep Disorders
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. Lifetime Stock

“Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the aptitude to sleep well on a regular basis. It is a common problem nowadays that coincides with a simple headache and day-to-day stress. When a patient walks in for a headache which is a common neurological disorder, 60-70 per cent of the time it is related to disrupted sleep,” says Dr Rima Chaudhari, Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

Insomnia is known to be the most common sleep disorder, But, there are more sleep disorders one should know of that affect health and lifestyle.

Sleep Apnoea

This is a serious sleep disorder where breathing frequently stops and starts again, this causes the oxygen level in the blood to drop. It may therefore hamper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body; our body senses this occurrence and disrupts one’s sleep, to ensure that the individual breathes again. Common symptoms of sleep apnoea are snoring, wheezing for air, and waking up with a dry mouth.

Restless legs syndrome

It is a neurological disorder where a person gets an urge to move his/her legs constantly. People with this condition experience discomfort or twitchiness (ache or burning) in their legs after going to sleep. As it typically disturbs sleep, it is considered as a sleep disorder.

Sleep paralysis

Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the aptitude to sleep well on a regular basis. Lifetime Stock

Sleep paralysis is a disorder where a person is unable to move or speak when waking up and falling asleep. A person may also tend to hallucinate in this case. Patients experience a certain pressure and instant fear, as they have a feeling of being conscious but are unable to move.

Circadian rhythm disorder

This is a type of disorder which usually happens when a person’s internal biological clock is not in sync with external time cues. This sleeping pattern is usually hindered by two or more hours, especially when a person goes to sleep later at night or sleeps later in the morning. This is reported commonly amongst those who work night shifts, experience repetitive jet lag, or having an irregular sleep cycle.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a very common type of sleep disorder in which people have trouble falling and or staying asleep. They tend to sleep during the daytime, and are constantly low on energy or irritable.

Tips to get better sleep at night:

– Maintain good sleep hygiene and set a bedtime schedule

– Reduce coffee intake in the evenings and at night

Also Read- Follow These Tips For a Better Mental Health

– Decrease screen time, especially for a few hours before bedtime

– Exercise regularly

– Avoid afternoon or early evening naps if you have trouble sleeping at night

– Take a relaxing hot bath or shower before getting into bed (IANS)