Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Alzheimer's and Loneliness Linked



People who are lonely are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, a large US study has suggested.



Source Archives of General Psychiatry

A total of 823 older persons free of dementia at enrollment were recruited from senior citizen facilities in and around Chicago, Ill. Loneliness was assessed with a 5-item scale at baseline (mean ± SD, 2.3 ± 0.6) and annually thereafter. At death, a uniform postmortem examination of the brain was conducted to quantify AD pathology in multiple brain regions and the presence of cerebral infarctions.

The study found that the risk of Alzheimer's disease was more than doubled in lonely persons compared with persons who were not lonely. The study also concluded that Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of late-life dementia but not with its leading causes.