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Researchers are working on a pill that could cure loneliness

Credits: Flickr / Harsha K R

Loneliness is a real problem in today’s society as many people are affected.  American researchers that are trying to create a medicine to cure this problem are among many initiatives looking for a solution.

Loneliness can negatively affect your health

Whether we live in the countryside or in the cities, loneliness can affect everyone.  However feeling lonely can also be harmful to our health as it weakens our immune system and cognitive capacities.  In 2018, a Danish study stated that loneliness can also weaken the heart and can double the risk of death from a cardiovascular disease. In China, work was carried out to try and find a remedy for loneliness among the elderly.  In 2017, 230 million individuals were given a robotic pet as a way to resolve this problem.

Therefore loneliness could be considered as type of illness as it can have harmful effects on our health just like anxiety and depression.  Although medication already exists to treat these two difficulties, researchers from the University of Chicago (United States) are trying to create a pill to cure loneliness as explained in a publication in June 2016 that was updated in November 2018 in the journal Clinical Trials.

A pill to combat the effects of loneliness

According to the leading author of the study, Stephanie Cacioppo, feelings of loneliness are apparently the result of biological signals pushing people to feel social dangers in their environment.  The author of the study also mentioned that loneliness hasn’t been completely recognized from a scientific perspective.  She believes that this is an error.

The researcher is interested in pregnenolone, which is a neuro-steroid (or a neuroactive steroid) that eases the brain’s hypervigilance and combats stress.  It can’t make loneliness disappear but can alter the way in which loneliness affects the brain.

The study is still in progress and should be finished in June 2019 after starting in May 2017.  Scientists have tried administering 400 mg of pregnenolone or a placebo to people in good health but who feel lonely.  Therefore we will need to wait for the results of the study before we can know if this medicine can really change the affects of loneliness.

Sources : The GuardianConsoGlobe

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