social isolation
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2022 ◽  
Vol 14 ◽  
pp. 100302
Keir EJ Philip ◽  
Feifei Bu ◽  
Michael I Polkey ◽  
Jamie Brown ◽  
Andrew Steptoe ◽  

2022 ◽  
Vol 15 ◽  
Meghan L. Donovan ◽  
Eileen K. Chun ◽  
Yan Liu ◽  
Zuoxin Wang

The socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) offers a unique opportunity to examine the impacts of adolescent social isolation on the brain, immune system, and behavior. In the current study, male and female prairie voles were randomly assigned to be housed alone or with a same-sex cagemate after weaning (i.e., on postnatal day 21–22) for a 6-week period. Thereafter, subjects were tested for anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviors using the elevated plus maze (EPM) and Forced Swim Test (FST), respectively. Blood was collected to measure peripheral cytokine levels, and brain tissue was processed for microglial density in various brain regions, including the Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc), Medial Amygdala (MeA), Central Amygdala (CeA), Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis (BNST), and Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus (PVN). Sex differences were found in EPM and FST behaviors, where male voles had significantly lower total arm entries in the EPM as well as lower latency to immobility in the FST compared to females. A sex by treatment effect was found in peripheral IL-1β levels, where isolated males had a lower level of IL-1β compared to cohoused females. Post-weaning social isolation also altered microglial density in a brain region-specific manner. Isolated voles had higher microglial density in the NAcc, MeA, and CeA, but lower microglial density in the dorsal BNST. Cohoused male voles also had higher microglial density in the PVN compared to cohoused females. Taken together, these data suggest that post-weaning social housing environments can alter peripheral and central immune systems in prairie voles, highlighting a potential role for the immune system in shaping isolation-induced alterations to the brain and behavior.

2022 ◽  
Vol 2 ◽  
Amarachi Chijioke Ogbonna ◽  
Abdul Shakoor Chaudhry ◽  
Lucy Asher

Stressors are commonly encountered by all farmed species, including chickens, but the impact of these stressors on the animal and their productivity can be influenced by the environmental conditions in which they are kept. This study investigated the effects of dietary vitamin D3 (vitD3) and ultraviolet light (UVB) on growth performance, organ weight, serum corticosterone levels (CORT), serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OH-D3) status, gut histology, and welfare indicators of broiler chickens challenged with social isolation stress. One day (d) old Ross 308 broiler chicks (n = 192) were individually weighed, wing-tagged, and allocated to non-isolated (control) and isolated groups; control birds were never isolated, while isolated birds were subjected to regular sessions of social isolation for about 15-min periods over the course of 3 d a week for 2 weeks starting from d 10 (1.30 h total exposure) with inter treatment interval of 48 h. Birds were treated with either dietary vitD3 at 4,000 IU/kg (HD) or UVB light (UVB). The UVB lamp (24 Watt 12% UVB D3, 55 cm) with wavelength: 280–315 nm, intensity; 28.12 μW/cm2 hung 50 cm above the substrate was used for the broilers in all the treatment groups but were filtered to remove UVB in the HD group. Growth performance measure; body weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio were estimated at the end of starter (day 10), grower (day 24), and finisher periods (day 38). Broilers were feather and gait scored to measure welfare at 22/35 and 24/37 days of age, respectively. The selected birds were weighed and euthanized to obtain serum to determine 25-OH-D3 and CORT levels, GIT weights, and gut histology. Subjecting the birds to 2-week social isolation (for 15 min, three times per week) increased CORT levels but did not alter GP and 25-OH-D3 levels of broilers. However, UVB-treated broilers demonstrated better welfare, duodenal absorptive capacity, and reduced FCR compared to HD chickens. Results suggest some beneficial effects of UVB lighting on welfare indicators and the potential to support early life growth of commercial broilers reared indoors, which are often challenged with stressors.

2022 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
Elizabeth A. Lydon ◽  
Lydia T. Nguyen ◽  
Qiong Nie ◽  
Wendy A. Rogers ◽  
Raksha A. Mudar

Social isolation and loneliness in older adults are associated with poor health outcomes and have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment and incident dementia. Social engagement has been identified as a key factor in promoting positive health behaviors and quality of life and preventing social isolation and loneliness. Studies involving cognitively healthy older adults have shown the protective effects of both in-person and technology-based social engagement. However, the benefits of social engagement for people who are already at-risk of developing dementia, namely those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), have yet to be elucidated. We present a narrative review of the literature, summarizing the research on social engagement in MCI. First, we identified social networks (quality, size, frequency, and closeness) and social activities (frequency, format, purpose, type, and content) as two overarching dimensions of an integrative framework for social engagement derived from literature examining typical cognitive aging. We then used this framework as a lens to examine studies of social engagement in MCI to explore (i) the relationship between in-person and technology-based social engagement and cognitive, emotional, and physical health, and (ii) interventions that target social engagement including technology-based approaches. Overall, we found that persons with MCI (PwMCI) may have different levels of social engagement than those experiencing typical cognitive aging. Moreover, in-person social engagement can have a positive impact on cognitive, emotional, and physical health for PwMCI. With respect to activity and network dimensions in our framework, we found that cognitive health has been more widely examined in PwMCI relative to physical and emotional health. Very few intervention studies have targeted social engagement, but both in-person and technology-based interventions appear to have promising health and well-being outcomes. Our multidimensional framework of social engagement provides guidance for research on characterizing the protective benefits of social engagement for PwMCI and informs the development of novel interventions including technology-based approaches.

2022 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
Bérangère Naudé ◽  
Anne-Sophie Rigaud ◽  
Maribel Pino

Social isolation in geriatric institutions is a real threat to older adults' (OAs) well-being. Visits from family members, when they are not impacted by geographical distance or illness, sometimes fail to provide sufficient opportunities for social connectedness and interaction to prevent and/or combat OAs' loneliness and social isolation. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) offer promising solutions to this problem. Video calls provide a quick and convenient way for remote communication between OAs and their families, and a complement to face-to-face visits in geriatric settings. Over the last months, during the several confinements imposed to stop the transmission of COVID-19 over the world, several care homes and long-care facilities have equipped themselves with laptops, tablets and video call applications to help OAs remain in contact with their relatives. However, numerous technical and human-related factors may hinder the use of video calls in these settings. The complexity of technological devices, as well as OAs limited digital skills, low confidence and experience in the use of technology are some examples. Furthermore, the specific context of use and the required implication of multiple actors (care professionals, family members) should also be considered when examining the use and implementation of video calls in geriatric institutions. We conducted a narrative review of literature describing the use of video calls in geriatric institutions between 2000 and 2021, especially because of the little information related to OAs' use of video calls in geriatric settings. One thousand one hundred ninety-seven references were screened and 15 studies focusing on the usability, acceptability and effectiveness of video calls were included. A qualitative, deductive thematic analysis inspired by a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) multidimensional model was used to identify barriers, enablers and solutions to video calls implementation in geriatric institutions. The results from the HTA-based analysis provide encouraging evidence for the feasibility of video call use in geriatric settings, and its efficacy on reducing social isolation among residents. However, numerous technical, human-related, ethical and organizational barriers persist and should be addressed in future works. The present analysis has also allowed the identification of potential solutions to overcome these barriers, which are discussed in this publication.

2022 ◽  
Vol 26 ◽  
pp. 1-8
Jéssica Amaro Moratelli ◽  
Anelise Sonza ◽  
Aline Nogueira Haas ◽  
Elren Passos-Monteiro ◽  
Clynton Lourenço Corrêa ◽  

The world has been hit by a pandemic caused by the new coronavirus (COVID 19), which has resulted in government recommendations and measures including social isolation to reduce the spread of the disease. In view of these recommendations, there were drastic changes in lifestyle, impacting the physical and mental health of men and women. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the practice of physical activity, according to sex, in individuals with Parkinson’s disease in social isolation before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cross-sectional observational study, based on an online questionnaire validated for individuals with Parkinson’s disease PAFPA/COVID19, in which 156 individuals of both sexes and degrees of the disease (I to V) were allocated, with a mean age of 63.70 ± 11.00 years and from different Brazilian regions. Chi-square, Fisher’s exact and binary logistic regression tests were used. It is observed that 92% of the participants  were in social isolation, which caused negative effects on the level of physical activity of the participants, even though most of them doing physical activity online. In addition, it was found that those who participated in specific exercise programs for Parkinson’s disease, are less likely to be insufficiently active, as well as individuals who receive online guidance. Although social isolation is a necessary measure to combat COVID-19, the results show a negative effect of this social isolation on the parameters of physical activity in this population in different regions of Brazil. This suggests that better strategies for health promotion in order to increase levels of physical activity at home are necessary to reduce the physical inactivity lifestyle during the pandemic, in order to prevent diseases associated with social isolation and physical inactivity.

2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (1) ◽  
Alyssa R. Morse ◽  
Michelle Banfield ◽  
Philip J. Batterham ◽  
Amelia Gulliver ◽  
Sonia McCallum ◽  

Abstract Background COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in school closures worldwide, requiring curriculum to be delivered to children remotely (home schooling). Qualitative evidence is needed to provide important context to the positive and negative impacts of home schooling and inform strategies to support caregivers and children as the pandemic continues. This study aimed to explore the experiences of home schooling caregivers at multiple time-points during the pandemic. Methods Data were obtained from a longitudinal survey of a representative Australian sample conducted over 8 waves during 2020 and 2021. Participants who had home schooled at least one child during COVID-19 completed open-ended questions at Wave 4 (May 2020; n = 176), Wave 7 (June 2020; n = 145), and Wave 8 (March 2021; n = 57). Participants were asked to describe what they found positive and challenging about home schooling (Wave 4), what they would do differently if they home schooled their children again (Wave 7), and the longer-term impacts of home schooling on caregivers and children (Wave 8). Results 91% of participants at Wave 4 reported at least one positive and/or negative aspect of home schooling. At Wave 8, 32% and 29% of participants reported no long-term positive or negative impacts of home schooling respectively. Using a qualitative content analysis approach, six themes were developed from the data, encompassing the impacts of home schooling on parents, and the perceived impacts on children. Impacts on parents included connecting with children, managing the work-life-school balance, and the challenge of home schooling when parents are not teachers. Perceived impacts on children included: quieter and safer learning at home, and the negatives of managing schoolwork load and social isolation. At Wave 7, 56 participants (44%) identified at least one thing they would do differently. Conclusions Despite some participants reporting positive experiences associated with home schooling, it remains challenging for many parents and their children. Supports for parents and children engaged in home schooling should provide clear and flexible guidance on how to balance schoolwork with other competing demands, assist parents who lack confidence in supporting their children’s remote learning, and address risks associated with social isolation.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Liana C. L. Portugal ◽  
Camila Monteiro Fabricio Gama ◽  
Raquel Menezes Gonçalves ◽  
Mauro Vitor Mendlowicz ◽  
Fátima Smith Erthal ◽  

Background: Healthcare workers are at high risk for developing mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to identify vulnerability and protective factors related to the severity of psychiatric symptoms among healthcare workers to implement targeted prevention and intervention programs to reduce the mental health burden worldwide during COVID-19.Objective: The present study aimed to apply a machine learning approach to predict depression and PTSD symptoms based on psychometric questions that assessed: (1) the level of stress due to being isolated from one's family; (2) professional recognition before and during the pandemic; and (3) altruistic acceptance of risk during the COVID-19 pandemic among healthcare workers.Methods: A total of 437 healthcare workers who experienced some level of isolation at the time of the pandemic participated in the study. Data were collected using a web survey conducted between June 12, 2020, and September 19, 2020. We trained two regression models to predict PTSD and depression symptoms. Pattern regression analyses consisted of a linear epsilon-insensitive support vector machine (ε-SVM). Predicted and actual clinical scores were compared using Pearson's correlation coefficient (r), the coefficient of determination (r2), and the normalized mean squared error (NMSE) to evaluate the model performance. A permutation test was applied to estimate significance levels.Results: Results were significant using two different cross-validation strategies to significantly decode both PTSD and depression symptoms. For all of the models, the stress due to social isolation and professional recognition were the variables with the greatest contributions to the predictive function. Interestingly, professional recognition had a negative predictive value, indicating an inverse relationship with PTSD and depression symptoms.Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the protective role of professional recognition and the vulnerability role of the level of stress due to social isolation in the severity of posttraumatic stress and depression symptoms. The insights gleaned from the current study will advance efforts in terms of intervention programs and public health messaging.

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