27 September 2022

Aging and loneliness

Living alone accelerates aging

Because of this, the biological age increases by 1.65 years


Scientists have found out during observations of elderly people that living alone accelerates the aging process of the human body faster than it happens on average due to smoking or living in a dysfunctional environment. The work was published in the journal Aging (Galkin et al., Psychological factors substantially contribute to biological aging: evidence from the aging rate in Chinese older adults). This was announced on Tuesday by the press service of the Deep Longevity biostart.

"Mental and psychosocial factors are among the most reliable predictors of an individual's quality of life and health, but they have been largely ignored by science in the past. Our study has shown that taking into account these factors will slow down the psychological aging of the world's population at the level of individual states," said a researcher at Stanford University (USA) Manuel Faria, whose words are quoted by the press service of Deep Longevity.

Faria and his colleagues, led by Alexey Zhavoronkov, associate professor at the Buck Institute for the Study of Aging in Novato (USA), became interested in how various psychological and social factors affect the process of physiological and cellular aging of the body. To do this, the scientists analyzed the data collected by their colleagues from China as part of the CHARLS monitoring project. It was attended by over 11 thousand elderly residents of China, who regularly underwent examinations and interviews, as well as donated blood samples, which helped scientists track changes in their condition as they aged.

Experts extracted biomarkers of aging from the blood of CHARLS participants and compared their concentrations with the conditions in which they lived and how much stress they experienced. The analysis showed that loneliness and the accompanying social and psychological factors affect aging. They increase this figure by an additional 1.65 years. Smoking and other bad habits and living in a dysfunctional environment affected cell aging less.

Taking this factor into account in social policy, as noted by Zhavoronkov, will allow individual states of the world to slow down the psychological aging of the population. This will reduce the burden on the healthcare system and will increase the average life expectancy, the researchers concluded.

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