Study: Isolation at Root of Addictions & Obesity

A new study has backed-up years of anecdotal theory on isolation breeding all manner of personal health issues such as addictions and obesity, especially when people are socially isolated in adolescence.

The study, which was conducted on mice, showed how isolation in adolescence led to atypical development of the prefrontal cortex and addictive, habitual behavior in adulthood.

The findings are so significant because the adult brain is largely shaped during adolescence when some connections between brain cells are solidified and others are eliminated.

Prior research has established an important role for social experience in this development.

In the study, the researchers identified a critical period during which social isolation impaired the adult brain and behavior and linked these effects to dendritic spine excess.

Therapeutic interventions targeting the refinement of the brain during adolescence may, therefore, represent a promising direction for future research.

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