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Posted by on May 2, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

Lonely Heart Could Risk Heart Attack

Attention hermits, anti-social or lonely people: if you value your health you’ll get some people in your life NOW.

The reason: a new study concludes that if you’re a man and don’t have a group of close friends, family or aren’t connected with other people it could heighten your risk of heart attack.

How could this happen? As Health Talk notes, it has to do with blood markers:

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that men who are socially isolated have raised levels of a blood marker associated with heart disease.

“Our analyses suggest that it may be good for the heart to be connected. In general, it seems to be good for health to have close friends and family, to be connected to community groups or religious organizations, and to have a close partner,” said lead researcher Dr. Eric B. Loucks.

For their study, the team looked at 3,267 men taking part in the Framingham Heart Study. The participants, with an average age of 62 years, underwent physical exams and answered questions about their social network. The team also measured their blood for four inflammatory markers.

The result: the highest levels of IL-6 — a cell that signals protein that helps create inflammation and can thicken the arteries — are seen among men who have lower social involvement. offers these details:

The researchers studied 3267 men, with an average age of 62, who underwent physical examinations and answered a series of questions about their social lives, if they were single or married, how many friends and relatives they knew whom they could confide in and the extent of their participation in group activities and religious meetings or services.

The men were then given a social network score of one to four and isolated men were found to be at the bottom of the scale, and those who were highly connected at the top. Interestingly the researchers found that the average level of IL-6 in the blood of men with a score of one was 3.85 picograms per millilitre. Men with a social network score of four had a level of 3.52 picograms.

Bottom line: good news for social butterflies and party animals everywhere…