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Why loneliness can be deadly

lonelinessAccording to a new research, loneliness can increase risk of cancer. Research was conducted on rodents. Rodents that are kept alone developed more tumors of deadly type than rats living as a group.
The researchers say that the same may be true in humans. Experts in cancer say that more work and research is needed to prove such a link in humans.
In terms of survival, cancer patients who are depressed tend to fare worse. Previous research has found that social support can enhance health conditions for breast cancer patients.
In this study, researchers found that risk of breast cancer trebled with isolation and stress in sociable Norway rats.

Loneliness can send a person down a path toward bad health, and even more intense loneliness, studies have shown. But while some have assumed the culprit was a dearth of others to remind a person to take care of himself or herself, new research suggests there's a direct biological link between being lonely and ill health.
Loneliness can set into a motion a barrage of negative impacts inside the human body — but with additional social contact, some of the ill effects can be stopped.
John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago social psychologist who studies the biological effects of loneliness, presented some of his latest research at the Social Psychology and Perception meeting in San Diego in February.
He has found, for instance, loneliness is tied to hardening of the arteries (which leads to high blood pressure), inflammation in the body, and even problems with learning and memory. Even fruit flies that are isolated have worse health and die sooner than those that interact with others, showing that social engagement may be hard-wired, Cacioppo said.
In one study, Cacioppo and Steve Cole of UCLA examined how the immune system changed over time in people who were socially isolated. They observed a change in the kinds of genes that lonely people's immune systems were expressing. Genes overexpressed in the loneliest individuals included many involved in immune system activation and inflammation. In addition, several key gene sets were underexpressed, including those involved in antiviral responses and antibody production. The result is that a lonely person's body has let its defenses down to viral and other invaders. [7 Personality Traits That Are Bad For You]
"What we see is a consistent pattern where it looks like human immune cells are programmed with a defensive strategy that gets activated in lonely people," Cole told LiveScience.
e: BBC
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