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HHS HealthBeat (February 13, 2013)

Not immune from loneliness

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Your Immune System

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that feeling lonely may be bad for a person’s immune system. At Ohio State University, Lisa Jaremka and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser looked at whether loneliness created the kind of chronic stress that can affect the immune system.

Compared with people whose test scores showed they were less lonely, people whose scores showed they felt very lonely had more antibodies indicating that they were fighting a common and generally harmless herpes virus called cytomegalovirus.

Jaremka says:

“People who felt very lonely had greater herpes virus reactivation than people who felt less lonely.”

The study presented at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 13, 2013