DOCTRO'S VIEW ARCHIVE
PITTSBURGH-Several current theories hold that people
who have diversified social networks (those that interact with
family members, friends, and co-workers, are married, and belong
to various social groups) live longer and healthier than people
who live more isolated lives.
Recently, Sheldon Cohen, PhD and colleagues at the
University of Pittsburgh performed a bold study which was recently
published in the Journal of the American Medical
Dr. Cohen's study involved infecting 276 healthy
volunteers (aged 18 to 55 years) with a particular cold virus
(rhinovirus)! The volunteers reported the extent of their social
ties, and were given nasal drops containing one of 2 types of
this virus and monitored for the development of a common cold.
The results demonstrated that those volunteers with
more types of social ties were less susceptible to common colds,
produced less mucus, and were more efficient in clearing the virus
from their nasal passages.
The authors concluded that more diverse social networks
were associated with greater resistance to infections in the upper
Humans are social beings. There have been many other
documented health benefits of socialization behaviors, including
optimizing thinking ability in seniors, musculoskeletal health,
and others. This new research supports the contention that social
ties are an attribute in promoting a healthier life.
(Maybe those Fourth of July barbeque gatherings, as are common in the United States, celebrate more than only our national heritage, but also serve our national health! Happy and safe Fourth of July!)