Throughout this semester I feel like I have explored many different regions of the globe, as well as many different ailments that many people do not know much about. I myself have not known much about the epidemics, and potential epidemics that the world has remaining in it even thought we as humans feel like we have everything under control. In regards to health and disease, most of the health related problems I have found while writing, and looking through news articles have been about some sort of disease that is a danger to spread throughout social areas. The Ebola outbreak for example spread throughout western Africa because there was a lot of people who did not know what it was, and how to prevent it. This week however, I am interested in a new global health problem that comes from lack of social activity. The story entitled "Loneliness: the next big global health problem?" written by William Reville and published by the Irish Times, explains how a lack of friends and a social support network can have serious health consequences. To quote the article, "There is very good evidence that having meaningful close relationships and diverse social connections boosts our immune system, reduces general stress and cardiovascular stress, and supports and improves mental health" (Reville). Some lifestyles that get a lot of attention for being detrimental to health have been smoking, and sedentary lifestyle which can lead to obesity, but that of unsocial behavior resulting negatively has rarely been addressed. The research done for this study suggests that loneliness and lack of social connections can increase the risk of death by 26% and 29% respectively. What is most interesting to me about this story is that of the predictions for the future and why. A survey showed that the number of Americans that say they have no close friends have tripled over recent decades. With the advance in social media many people have replaced having friends face to face with friends over the internet. That and texting have changed the way people communicate and interact. The decrease in friendly interaction is thought to continue to grow as a result of the continuing advance in technology. Who know where we will end up in future generations, but as Albert Einstein said, "I fear for the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
Alex Rogers, 4/17/15, 1:40 pm.