31 Aug

Social interaction appears to be an extremely important part of ducklings growing up.

The ducklings are now visiting us on a regular basis and there seem to be a variety of visitors including ducklings of mixed race or in the duck world known as hybrids. Mallards interbreed with other species of ducks and a thoroughbred mallards is becoming is becoming more obvious which are male am
N which are female. There is still some rivalry and at least two of the ducks hav paired off and remain aloof from the main group but seem to tag on behind and follow the group eventually.

Similarly Social interaction is very important in the human world and a recent studies by Doctor McClintock, Director of the Institute for Mind and Biology, compared lonely and social humans and although the trial is still running, early indications show the lonely people didn’t recover as quickly from illness, didn’t sleep as well and had higher systolic blood pressure. The early trial conclusions state that social interaction helps to make people healthier and live longer.

This has also been found in other studies including Cacioppo, who found lonely people show a number of adverse cardiovascular changes compared to people with friends. They have faster heartbeats, higher blood pressure and poorer sleep. So this closely mirrors McClintock’s findings.

There is also good evidence that social support has a favourable influence on a wide range of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, hypertension and respiratory disorders.

However, good social interaction is a key part of living well. Study after study lists good friendships, family relationships and health as the most important things to have in order to be happy and fulfilled.

As doctors we are always interested in a patients social network and I can recall numerous cases to illustrate this.
However, I also feel that being in our own space is extremely important and can be extremely beneficial in some instances. As always it is striking a good balance.


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