The effects of covid-19 pandemia – Oxytocin’s new effects for human beings

January 2, 2021 | News

Dear FICAC Members,

As we are embracing 2021 , I want to raise three points for your attention with the effects of covid-19 pandemia. First one is about the impotance of ‘COVID-19 and the Sustainability Development Goals of United Nations’ ; in short ‘COVID-19 and SDGs’.

As we know, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us a new world; one where the status quo no longer exists. Millions of people are experiencing untold misery and suffering as the virus overwhelms our bodies and economies. Rich and poor, the pandemic has forced us to reconsider almost every aspect of how we live. And COVID-19’s reach is only just beginning to be felt.

The pandemic presents both an enormous challenge and tremendous opportunities for reaching the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are a roadmap for humanity. They encompass almost every aspect of human and planetary wellbeing and, if met, will provide a stable and prosperous life for every person and ensure the health of the planet. This year they have received a grievous blow—one that will be far reaching for years to come. But the pandemic also shows us the wisdom of what is already inherent in the SDGs; the challenges we face cannot be dealt with in isolation.

The second point I want to take your attention to is the rise of psychiatric disorders during covid 19 pandemic. I hope we will be able to help people; adolescents and healthcare professionals cope with stress better.

We see an enormous increase in psychiatric disorders ,especially adolescent related to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Stressful life events, extended home confinement, brutal grief, intrafamilial violence, overuse of the Internet and social media are factors that could influence the mental health of adolescents during this period. The COVID-19 pandemic could result in increased psychiatric disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress, Depressive, and Anxiety Disorders, as well as grief-related symptoms. Adolescents with psychiatric disorders are at risk of a break or change in their care and management; they may experience increased symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown may have a negative impact on the mental health of adolescents, although there is still no data on the long term impact of this crisis. Adolescents’ individual, familial, and social vulnerability, as well as individual and familial coping abilities, are factors related to adolescent mental health in times of crisis. Adolescents are often vulnerable and require careful consideration by caregivers and healthcare system adaptations to allow for mental health support despite the lockdown. Research on adolescent psychiatric disorders in times of pandemics is necessary, as such a global situation could be prolonged or repeated.

Adolescent populations are vulnerable in a time of pandemic. Adolescence is a time of difficult transition and maturation towards adulthood. This review shows that early studies on adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak support a risk of PTSD, depressive and anxiety symptoms during the pandemic. The lockdown and COVID-19 related worries are stress factors, as well as the increase in intrafamily violence associated with the confinement. Sudden deaths due to COVID-19 are possible factors of grief-related psychiatric symptoms, trauma, and depression for adolescents. Vulnerable adolescents may be deprived of school and extra-family support. Adolescents with a psychiatric history are especially at risk. Adolescent girls and adolescents living in lower economic status families may be more vulnerable. Other studies show that more vulnerable populations (women, ethnic minorities, and low-income populations) worry more when they face crises .Also, our review reports that adolescents with psychiatric disorders are particularly vulnerable, possibly due to disruption of care, COVID-19 related anxiety, and difficulties in coping with confinement. Besides, there are concerns about excessive access to the internet, social media, and the news.

Also, Burnout is increasingly being recognized globally as a major concern, affecting physical and mental well-being of Healthcare Workers (HCWs ) . During the current COVID-19 pandemic, closing down of international and state borders, strict city, and also areawise lockdown has affected HCWs and their families as well, causing excessive negative psychological effects. Burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that results from long-term involvement in work situations that are emotionally demanding. It is a multidimensional syndrome comprising emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment. In the past two decades, several viral outbreaks have occurred, such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, such outbreaks resulted in psychological distress and posttraumatic stress in the HCWs. Of the many causative factors ., clinical factors (contact with affected patients, forced redeployment to look after affected patients, training perceived to be inadequate), personal factors (fear of quarantine, particularly in staff with children at home, and infected family member), and societal factors (societal stigma against hospital workers) seem to be particularly relevant. Burnout, apart from being personally harmful, can lead to suboptimal patient care.

Globally, while the researchers are pursuing many avenues to prevent and treat the COVID-19 menace, its psychological impact among HCWs has also been assessed. However, not many steps are being taken by the administrators of the healthcare organizations to mitigate the effects of psychological distress on the HCWs.

I want raise my third point by asking a question: Do we need to understand the effects of Oxytocin hormone for a better future and Diplomacy?

I have an initiative called ‘ Oksitosin Medicine and Art Platform.’ As a medical doctor, I always had deep interest in the effects of this hormone called Oxtyocin and that’s why I chose this name for her Platform. Especially after experiencing the effects of covid-19 pandemic in the whole world, I was more content with my choice of this name for my Platform because of the basic functionality of Oxytocin hormone. As Oxytocin hormone is also known as the ‘touching hormone’ and increases with any loving touch , we all entered a lifestyle very distant from each other. I think this situation made the need and the lack of Oxytocin hormone in us deeper.

Also, I want to refer to a latest research related with Oxytocin’s new effects for human beings. This research which was published in September 2020 by a group of researches from US,Ohio was remarkable for all of us. (Ali S. Imami, Sinead M. O’Donovan, Justin F. Creeden, Xiaojun Wu,et all. ‘Oxytocin’s anti-inflammatory and proimmune functions in COVID-19: a transcriptomic signature-based approach’) In this study, it is clearly figured out that Oxytocin and its analogs provides an interesting angle to pursue as an adjunctive COVID-19 therapy.

I think that as part of the gender turn in the field of diplomacy,understanding the functions of Oxytocin can generate significant theoretical contributions to the transformation of diplomacy. I want to hold a speech about this issue in the near future under the WIDC (Women In Diplomacy Committee).

Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. In chemistry, oxytocin is classed as a nonapeptide (a peptide containing nine amino acids), while its biological classification is as a neuropeptide. It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter. The hormone’s influence on our behavior and physiology originates in the brain, where it’s produced by the by a structure called the hypothalamus, and then transfers to the pituitary gland which releases into the bloodstream.. Like antennas picking up a signal, oxytocin receptors are found on cells throughout the body. Oxytocin the so-called “love hormone” is being increasingly shown to trigger a wide variety of physical and psychological effects in both women and men. It’s like a hormone of attachment, we might say… It creates feelings of calm and closeness. When we look at the literature; we see many wonderful effects of this fantastic hormone: Oxytocin promotes attachment , Oxytocin solidifies relationships , Oxytocin eases stress, Oxytocin improves social skills , Oxytocin triggers protective instincts , Oxytocin fosters generosity…

In its best understood role, oxytocin is released in large amounts during labor, intensifying the uterine contractions that open the cervix and allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. Stimulation of the nipples results in oxytocin release and milk let-down during breast feeding. The hormone does not act alone in the chemistry of love, but is just one important component of a complex neurochemical system that increases by touching and allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations. For these reasons, oxytocin is called the great facilitator of life. Healthcare professionals touch their patients; not only their bodies but also their lives…we touch the lives of everybody around us; our families, friends and our colleaques; everybody!!At the core of the concept of diplomacy is the idea of communicating, interacting, maintaining contact, and negotiating with states and other international actors. Diplomacy, too, is an institution. Exploring the effects of this fascinating hormone Oxytocin’ on this Institution of Diplomacy is one of the fundamental working areas of Oksitosin Medicine and Art Platform .( )

I wish you all a HEALTHY , HAPPY NEW YEAR ….

Best regards

Prof.Dr. E.Elif Vatanoğlu-Lutz

Ethics and History of Medicine

Yeditepe University Medical Faculty

26 Ağustos Yerleşkesi

Kayışdağı mah.İnönü cd. Ataşehir / İstanbul TURKEY