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The loneliness of social isolation can affect your brain and raise dementia risk in older adults

<span class="caption">In healthy older people, loneliness has a pattern of stress response similar to that of people who are under chronic stress. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/senior-woman-looking-out-of-her-bedroom-window-at-royalty-free-image/1218053691" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Justin Paget via Getty Images">Justin Paget via Getty Images</a></span>
In healthy older people, loneliness has a pattern of stress response similar to that of people who are under chronic stress. Justin Paget via Getty Images

Physical pain is unpleasant, yet it’s vital for survival because it’s a warning that your body is in danger. It tells you to take your hand off a hot burner or to see a doctor about discomfort in your chest. Pain reminds us all that we need to take care of ourselves.

Feeling lonely is the social equivalent to feeling physical pain. It even triggers the same pathways in the brain that are involved in processing emotional responses to physical pain.

Just like feeling physical pain, feeling lonely and disconnected from others is also a signal that we need to take care of ourselves by seeking the safety and comfort of companionship. But what happens when we are unable to find companionship and the

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Online chats with friends and family improve older people’s mental health, reveals UCL research

The results showed internet access could be used to reduce loneliness for older people - Geoges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images
The results showed internet access could be used to reduce loneliness for older people – Geoges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Older people who go online daily are happier when they use the internet to stay in touch with friends and family, a major new study has found.

Research by University College London (UCL), which studied the internet habits of 9,000 over 50s over four years, found that participants had better mental health when they used the internet for communication, but felt worse when they used it for information purposes, such as job hunting.

Researchers said the results showed internet access could be used to reduce loneliness and urged the Government to make it easier for older people not yet online to access the web.

The findings contrast with a growing number of studies finding excessive time online or on social media can adversely affect young people’s mental health.

For instance, a 2018

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