Recent research suggests that social relationships have a profound impact on longevity. Investigators analyzed nearly 150 human trials and concluded that isolation and loneliness are as dangerous as well-established risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity and obesity.
Now a study in mice reinforces this finding. Scientists at Ohio State University housed male mice by themselves or with a female mouse companion for two weeks before surgically inducing a heart attack. The researchers then tracked heart function carefully for one week. The mice with partners had significantly less heart damage and better heart rate variability than the mice that were living alone.
Social interaction also improved other biomarkers such as less inflammation in the brain and lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. These findings reinforce the idea that social interaction affects the brain and the body and can have a profound impact on organs like the heart.
[Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online, Aug. 30, 2010]

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  1. RMD

    Whoever wrote this article has never been on a Condominium Board or any Board for that matter. That’s about as socially interactive as it gets and about as stressful on the mind and body as it can get short of being physically beat up.
    Sports are socially interactive, I played tennis for 20 years and for 20 years watched people mentally and physically beat people on the tennis court. Talk about stress! How about Golf, another socially interactive stress-less pursuit. Anyone who has tried to play Golf knows how totally frustrating and stressful this socially interactive game can be.
    And what about Family gatherings, talk about stress. Who got older, who got fatter, who got richer. Good for the heart? I don’t think so. If you want stress-less social interaction, go for a walk on a beach with your best friend…..or your dog, who may be your best friend; or go sit in a bar and talk to a stranger.

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