Loneliness and memory problems


According to a very recent study performed by The Ohio State University (USA), omega-3 supplementation attenuates loneliness-related episodic memory declines. This type of memory refers to the memory of recent and remote events, for example: what we did yesterday or where we were when we heard a shocking new.

Loneliness, the feeling we get when our need for social relations is not met (both in quality and quantity), has become an epidemic in our society, even among young adults. Loneliness is not the same as being alone: we may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people (however, research shows that those who live alone are more likely to be lonely), or we may have frequent contact with family and friends and still feel lonely, because these relationships are not providing the emotional support that we need.

Loneliness harms health: lonely people have higher cortisol levels and increased risk of hypertension and heart disease, loneliness is associated with less restorative sleep and with daytime fatigue, and even affects gene expression in immune cells; it is also linked to cognitive decline and dementia in older people (and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is more than doubled). A study of social relationships and mortality found that having weak social connections implies the same risk for health that smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or to be an alcoholic, is more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity. It is surprising, doesn’t it?

In a next post, we’ll explain you how omega-3 can help lonely people.




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