Thursday August 16, 2018

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
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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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Fruits, Veggies May cut Psychological Stress Risk in Women

For the study, the team included more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above and measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress

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fruits and vegetables
Women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 per cent lower risk of stress, and those who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress.

If you are a woman and want to cut out on stress, add 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables daily to your plate, a new study has showed.

This habit may lead to a 23 per cent reduction in the risk of developing psychological stress.

The findings showed that women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 per cent lower risk of stress, and those who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress.

“We found that fruits and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables,” said lead author Binh Nguyen, doctoral student at University of Sydney in Australia.

However, fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress and no significant association was found between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than 7 daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.

fruits and vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables. Pixabay

“This study reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people’s psychological stress,” said Melody Ding from the University of Sydney.

Further, the study appearing in the British Medical Journal Open, also noted that for both men and women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had a 12 per cent lower risk of stress and those who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14 per cent lower risk of stress.

Also Read: High-Fibre Diets Are Good For Stress, According To Scientists

For the study, the team included more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above and measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress. (Bollywood Country)