The risk of dementia for an elderly person may increase loneliness by 40%, according to a new American scientific research, the largest of its kind so far.
Researchers at Florida State University Medical College, led by Associate Professor Angelina Sutin, who published the publication in Journal of Gerontology, analyzed data from more than 12,000 people over the age of 50, of whom 1,104 were diagnosed with dementia in the decade.
Participants were evaluated through questionnaires and psychological tests on the degree of loneliness and social isolation. It has been confirmed, as in previous studies, that the more isolated one he feels, the more he / she is at risk of dementia, regardless of his gender, race, educational level or genetic background.
Researchers have pointed out that the objective state of a person may be very different from the subjective one, as one can have several social contacts with friends and relatives, yet feel alone – and this increases the risk for dementia by up to 40%.
The researchers defined loneliness as “the subjective experience of social isolation”, something different from real social isolation. As Dr. Schuin said, “It’s the feeling that you do not belong or do not fit with the people around you, even if you have many social contacts. On the other hand, there are people who live on their own, without much contact with people, though they are objectively socially isolated, subjectively not feeling alone. ”
According to the new study, loneliness may exacerbate chronic inflammation in the body and have other negative health effects. People who feel alone are more likely to have various risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes, hypertension and depression, as well as to smoke and not to be physically active.