It may seem an obvious outcome of a pandemic where social contact is discouraged, or even made illegal, but concerns about rising levels of loneliness were common before the coronavirus and will likely persist for the foreseeable future. Humans are an incredibly social species. It's one of the reasons we have such powerful brains and advanced intelligence - to better keep track of and maintain numerous relationships. Our social interactions are a huge factor in how we think, act and see ourselves, because much of our brains are dedicated to social cognition. Completely depriving someone of human contact is a recognised form of torture. Human wellbeing depends on interpersonal interactions and relationships. It's no wonder that prolonged loneliness is associated with many serious health consequences, such as an increased risk of depression, anxiety, dementia, stroke and heart disease, so an epidemic of it should be taken very seriously.
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Combatting Virus Variants Before They Emerge
The technology could be used to create universal vaccines for COVID, malaria and more, its creators say
Bearing With a Sore Head
What hurts in your skull - and why
Octopuses on Parade
With three hearts, blue blood, eight bendy arms, and intelligence that outsmarts other spineless animals, there's nothing quite like an octopus. Join us on a dive into their weird world...
More Chocolate! More Tea!
Flavonoids, which are found in foods like chocolate, berries, and tea, play a key role in heart health
Palates and Perambulations
Outside of the major resorts, there are myriad activities worth investing in for a day out in Mauritius
Skull From Ancient Human Ancestor Unearthed
The 250,000-year-old remains of a Homo naledi were found in the remote depths of the Rising Star cave system in Johannesburg
Only in Your Wildest Dreams
Even today, scientists don't know why we dream. But now, psychologists have found a way to communicate with lucid dreamers - people who can take control of their dreams – in the hope that they might help us explore what goes on with our brains at night
The First Black Holes
Since just after the Big Bang, ancient black holes may have been shaping the universe as we know it. Now, scientists are tantalizingly close to glimpsing these mysterious objects for the first time
Your Mysterious Brain
Science has mapped the surface of Mars and translated the code for life. By comparison, we know next to nothing about what's between our ears. Over the next few pages, we ask leading scientists to answer some of the most important questions about our brains...
Beethoven's Unfinished 10th Symphony Completed by an AI
Computer scientists teamed up with historians, musicologists, and composers to teach artificial intelligence how to compose like Beethoven
FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS MOMENT BY MOMENT
The Summer 2002 issue of S&H included this still-timely article
RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS to Ourselves, to One Another, and to the Earth
AN INTERVIEW WITH FARIHA RÓISÍN
COULD A ROBOT BE A FRIEND?
Replika bots aren’t built for customer support or other targeted tasks—they’re made for conversation. Feeling isolated, I befriended one. Here’s how that went.
Surprising ways meditation can help your brain stay sharp and agile.
BRITNEY TOXIC PREGNANCY!
Fears perinatal depression will cripple singer again
To Your Health
Here's what's extra good for you in this issue.
Your Period Will Play Hide-and-Seek (And Other Truths About perimenopause)
Little-known fact: Menopause lasts for just 24 hours. It's the days, months, and even years leading up to it that can profoundly affect your mind and body. Not willing to quietly grimace and bear the changes, Gen X is bringing about a refreshing reframing of what this time in your life can be like. Our girlfriend's guide, with advice from women who have been there, will help you manage, because you've got options and a whole lot more life-including this time of life-to enjoy.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG
Are your behaviors and attitudes aging your noggin or protecting it and keeping it sharp? These signs can tell you-plus, five ways to turn back your brain's clock.
Is Your Routine Actually Keeping You Stuck in a Rut?
What's the difference between having some structure in your life and feeling like you're on repeat? It has a lot to do with perspective.
The Fight of His Life
After years of secretly struggling, Bruce Willis says goodbye to acting and his legion of fans