A new study reveals the neurobiological effects of social isolation in mice. Researchers report a neurochemical called tachykinin is overproduced during long term social isolation, leading to increased aggression and fear.
Chronic social isolation has debilitating effects on mental health in mammals–for example, it is often associated with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in humans. Now, a team of Caltech researchers has discovered that social isolation causes the build-up of a particular chemical in the brain, and that blocking this chemical eliminates the negative effects of isolation. The work has potential applications for treating mental health disorders in humans.