Loneliness is more than a feeling. It is a major health risk that can increase the risk of premature death by 14 percent.
A team of researchers, including leading loneliness expert John Cacioppo, has released a study on how loneliness triggers physiological responses that can ultimately make us sick.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences it shows that loneliness leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling, which can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells.
Previous research from this group that essentially found that lonely people had a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people.
Loneliness results in fight-or-flight stress signaling, leading to inflammatory genes and impaired anti-viral responses. The “danger signals” activated in the brain by loneliness ultimately affect the production of white blood cells, which in turn fight disease.