How Lockdown Has Rewired Your Brain

Have you ever wondered how lockdowns affect the way we function? Researchers have now studied how lockdown has rewired your brain. They found that they affect our levels of Dopamine and Cortisol, two hormones that are associated with immune functions and mood disorders. And the researchers have found a direct link between lockdowns and increased emotional recognition. You may be surprised to learn that the two hormones are linked to our social behaviour.

Unsocial distancing resets your social homeostasis

If you’re a person who enjoys social interaction, but is increasingly isolated, you’re not alone. There is a research paper in Science News about the power of “unsocial distancing,” which resets your social homeostasis. The idea behind this research is that humans have a natural impulse to huddle together, and social distancing counteracts that urge. Ophelia Deroy, a professor at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität Munich, says social distance can help you maintain a positive social environment.

The benefits of social distancing can be seen in many ways. For example, the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is a classic example of social distancing. In that pandemic, infected people were kept at least six feet away from healthy individuals. Proper hand-washing practices also prevented the spread of the virus. However, some people who were not vaccinated are at an increased risk of contracting influenza.

Cortisol and Dopamine affect our behaviour

How do our stress hormones Cortisol and Dopamine affect us after a lockdown? In times of crisis, we tend to think more divergently, and engage in activities that we would not normally do. Moreover, novelty seeking – engaging in activities that are novel and unfamiliar – increases creativity and allows individuals to regulate their emotional responses. Researchers have found that the levels of both hormones increase after a lockdown.

Cortisol levels correlate with immune functions

Many lifestyle factors are known to affect the function of the immune system, including diet, physical activity, and stress. Some of these factors are directly related to cortisol levels. While cortisol is a helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it can also inhibit the relaxation response, a necessary component of recovery. In a high-stress culture, the stress response is triggered too frequently, leading to chronic stress.

During the lockdown, mood levels were significantly lower in both sexes, although the correlations were stronger for those living alone. Although both groups experienced significant decreases in their perceived immune fitness, the effects of loneliness and anxiety were greater in the group that had to face living alone. While both groups experienced significant declines in their perceived immune fitness after lockdown, those who lived alone reported higher levels of loneliness and fatigue than those living with a partner. The presence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms were also negatively correlated with the participants’ positive moods.

Dopamine levels correlate with mood disorders

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter found in the brain. It has many functions in the body and is a critical component of motivation. For example, mice with low levels of dopamine become apathetic and starve, even when they have plenty of food to eat. Likewise, people with low serotonin levels are more prone to suffer from depression. Serotonin affects mood in a similar way, but with a greater degree of involvement in the psychiatric disorder.

The two neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are involved in many different functions in the body. They are both involved in the regulation of sleep and mood, and they work together to control these processes. They are involved in different aspects of the brain and may even be linked. In addition to depression, these two neurotransmitters are important for regulating memory, learning, and emotion. In fact, they are directly involved in many symptoms of depression, so there is a strong correlation between the two.

hippocampus is important for social homeostasis

Humans have evolved to live in a community of people, and our hippocampus plays a critical role in this social behavior. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have to learn how to interact with others to maintain a social circle. As a result, the brain has to store a tremendous amount of information. During this process, it must delete connections it doesn’t need. In fact, studies in animals show that even brief episodes of isolation can significantly degrade working and social memory.

In this study, we used single-labeled NeuN staining to define the hippocampal subregions. The hippocampal sections were imaged using a Nikon Optiphot-2 fluorescent microscope, and images were imported into Image J software. We then measured the surface area of CA1, DG, and SGZ regions in 11-month-old rats compared to 8 and 14-week-old rats.

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