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Medical News & Perspectives
November 21, 2017

Loneliness Might Be a Killer, but What’s the Best Way to Protect Against It?

JAMA. 2017;318(19):1853-1855. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.14591

Every year, British researcher Christina Victor, PhD, spots advertisements for charitable programs designed to ensure that no senior spends the Christmas holiday alone.

Those ads, though well-intentioned, epitomize common misconceptions about loneliness, says Victor, a professor of gerontology and public health at Brunel University London. In reality, studies suggest loneliness afflicts both young and old and it’s unlikely that total strangers can assuage it by inviting the lonely to feast on figgy pudding. In fact, Victor’s research has found that older people are lonelier in the summer than around Christmas.

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