Thursday February 21, 2019

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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Weigh Gain in Women Can Be Cause Due To High Stress Jobs: Study

Efforts to reduce work-related stress would likely achieve a decrease not only in weight gain but also in the incidence of ill health

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Indonesia, e-commerce, computer
Indonesian domestic workers attend a computer class during their day off at the Sekolah Indonesia Singapura (Indonesian School) in Singapore, Dec. 12, 2010. VOA

Are you gaining weight suddenly? Blame increased stress at workplace, say researchers who found that heavy pressure at work predisposes women to weight gain, irrespective of whether they have received an academic education.

The findings, led by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden researchers, showed that long-term exposure to high job demands played a part only for women. In just over half of the women who had been subjected to high demands, a major increase in weight took place over the 20 years.

This gain in weight was some 20 per cent higher than in women subject to low job demands.

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Your body may not cope with evening stress: Study. Pixabay

On the other hand, women and men with a low degree of control in their work more frequently gained considerable weight, defined as a weight gain of 10 per cent or more.

“We were able to see that high job demands played a part in women’s weight gain, while for men there was no association between high demands and weight gain,” said lead author Sofia Klingberg, a researcher at the varsity.

“When it came to the level of demands at work, only the women were affected. We haven’t investigated the underlying causes, but it may conceivably be about a combination of job demands and the greater responsibility for the home that women often assume. This may make it difficult to find time to exercise and live a healthy life,” Klingberg added,

depression
Depression has significantly increased the risk of early death in women. Wikimedia

For the study, published in the journal International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, the team included 3,872 women and men who were investigated on three occasions over a 20-year period with respect to such variables as body weight and demands and control at work.

Also Read: Does Your Home or Office Have Enough Fire Safety?

They were followed either from age 30 to 50 or from 40 to 60.

Efforts to reduce work-related stress would likely achieve a decrease not only in weight gain but also in the incidence of ill health, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the researchers noted. (IANS)