Over the years, some studies have linked social isolation — especially childhood — to negative health outcomes throughout a person’s life, including mental health problems and an increased risk of certain diseases,media reported. How loneliness causes these problems remains a mystery, at least so far. Social isolation in ad very young people also seems to trigger brain changes, and there is a way to reverse them, a new study has found.
The study, recently published in Nature Neuroscience, details the findings of researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai. Researchers studying social isolation and its effects on the brain have identified “specific brain cell subseeds” in the brain that play an important role in normal social behavior in adults.
According to the study, these cells are located in the prestal cortal layer and show a high susceptible to social isolation, at least in young mice. The findings, which are said to have never been discovered before, will help unlock how social isolation affects people and open the door to new treatments for underlying loneliness-related mental illness.
Researchers have previously been able to increase social interaction in adult mice through drugs and light pulses, reversing the social interaction defects caused by isolating them when they were young. However, further research is needed to determine whether the same findings can be applied to humans as they are to rodents.
“In addition to identifying this particular circuit in the pre-frontal cortical layer, which is particularly vulnerable to social isolation in childhood, we also demonstrate that the fragile circuits we identify are a promising target for treating social behavioral defects,” said Dr. Hirofumi Morishita, senior author of the study. By stimulating specific forehead circuits projected into the tyra brain region in adulthood, we can address the social defects caused by social isolation in adolescents. “