Social Isolation: The Most Important Topic Nobody is Talking About
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November 13, 2015
Imagine we were part of a village 50,000 years ago (or so). We all have our role and purpose, and are part of a connected group. Because there are people around, certain genes are expressed that stimulate the part of our immune system that will help prevent us getting a communicable disease. Makes sense. If we’re around a bunch of other humans, we’re more likely to get a viral infection, and our body specific cytokines to decrease our risk. Incidentally, this is the part of our immune system that may prevent cancer to some degree. On the other hand, our baseline inflammation is lowered. Then our village gets attacked and we all scatter and flee into the woods, totally isolated from one another for weeks to months. We are less likely to get a communicable disease, so that part of our immune system calms down. We are however more likely to get a life-threatening wound and wouldn’t have anyone around to take care of us, feed us, or otherwise help us survive. Therefore our baseline inflammatory is higher than…