Elderly men and women with solitary lives suffer more age-related mental decline than those who enjoy lots of company.
Research has shown that social isolation is more damaging than not exercising – and twice as harmful as obesity.
The latest study, by Harvard Medical School in Boston, shows the effect of loneliness on the mind.
Although the mind would be expected to slow down with age, the effect was accelerated by 20 percent in the loneliest people.
Researcher Dr Nancy Donovan said: “Lonely people decline cognitively at a faster rate than people who report more satisfying social networks and connections.
“This is important to know as we develop treatments to enhance cognitive health and quality of life for older adults.”
Source: Daily Mail