Social isolation and loneliness can actually shorten the lives of elderly people, researchers have found in a new study.

British researchers with the University College London found that seniors who had little contact with their friends and relatives were more likely to die early, regardless of their health or any other factors. Those who were lonely tended to die earlier if they had other mental or physical problems.

Researchers aren't sure why isolation is a strong predictor of death, but say other studies have shown social contact is a vital aspect to health and happiness.

Related links:

University College London - The prevalence of and risk factors for, loneliness in later life: a survey of older people in Great Britain

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