Eleanor Rigby' Was Right: Loneliness Spurs Disease, Study Says

  1. Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- In ``Eleanor Rigby,'' the Beatles ask, ``All the lonely people, where do they all belong?'' Maybe in a doctor's office, say scientists who studied the effect of isolation on people's immune systems.
    The research, led by scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine supports past findings on increased mortality from cancer, infection and heart disease among people without family ties or close friends. It is the first to trace the emotion to the genetic level using new tools that detect small variations in DNA.
    Genes linked to immune-system inflammation were more active in six people who described themselves as lonely than in eight who said they had a normal social life, the study found. At the same time, DNA involved in systems that fight infection and spur disease-fighting proteins were less active. Identifying physical changes tied to social isolation opens new opportunities for care, the researchers said.
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  3. by   Faeriewand
    How interesting is that? I read a long time ago that married men lived longer than single men. But married women didn't get the same benefit!
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    lonely people sent out bad vibes and other people avoid them which makes them even more lonely
    if they c/o of sx they come across as whiners to family and as users wanting a fix to mds
    so they get tired of asking for help and they crawl back into themselves until their diseases have advanced so far that they can't be helped
    after they died the family says well he's in a better place [and i hope that he is] and the medical community says 'well that is a learning experience'
  5. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    I'm not at all surprised. After all, "failure to thrive" is a well-documented disorder in neglected and isolated children. Why would we expect that maturity would eliminate susceptibility to it?
  6. by   leslie :-D
    this is consistent w/the thread, "depression more damaging than some chronic illnesses".
    yet it's frustrating to read because mental health (despite its publicity) continues to be stigmatized, therefore, taking the back burner in priority.
    this news didn't surprise me at all.
    frankly, i suspect that many have linked poorer health to depression/isolation/loneliness.
    now let's see if anything will/can be done.

  7. by   sharona97
    Very interesting concerning the cortisol issue!! Thanks!
  8. by   deeDawntee
    That really rings true with me. I manage major depression in my life and I know for a fact that my immune system is not what it should be. I catch everything that is going around, besides some frequent sinus infections, occasional UTIs and even lately cavities...in spite of good oral care.

    This weekend it has been migraines...maybe not immune related, but certainly stress related. I have missed 2 nights of work because of them. I love my job, but don't have great attendance. Luckily, so far, my supervisor has been ok with it. I use FEMLA to protect my job.

    I have support in my life, but when the depression rears its ugly head, all those consequences written about in that article show up in my health.

    I have to continue to remind myself that it is all part of the disease process and although I manage it pretty well, the symptoms at times are much worse then other times.
  9. by   CHATSDALE
    dawn, as a health care professional you are beter equiped to recognze the sx when they raise their ugly head
    it is hard to educate lay people to take steps before the depresson can be overwhelming