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Loneliness Kills

September 18, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Loneliness actually changes how the body functions at a molecular level. The research links feelings of social isolation to an alteration in the activity of specific genes—ones that put lonely people at higher risk for serious disease.

Researchers believe that chronic social isolation sets off a biological chain reaction that causes normal immune responses to malfunction. It starts with the lonely individual’s outlook on the world, in which, typically, other people are perceived as threatening. This makes social interactions – going to a party, for example – more stressful. “Chronically lonely people have a subjective theory of the world that says that people can’t be trusted,” says Steven Cole, assistant professor at the UCLA School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “It’s not that they’re hostile; they just perceive the world as somewhat more threatening.”

Why Lonely People Get Sick More Often

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