Loneliness Expedites Aging Faster Than Smoking-A New Study Finds

A team of researchers from the US, China, and Hong Kong devised a digital aging model that made some surprising predictions.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

Mental health is as crucial as physical health when it comes to the well-being of the human body. So, physical health shares a deep-rooted connection with mental health, and a digital model of aging suggests something quite surprising.

A collaborative endeavor between Stanford University, Deep Longevity (A Hong Kong-based start-up), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that loneliness plays a role in the expedition of biological age.

Human age is classified in two ways. First, is the chronological age, which is counted from the date of birth.  Second, is the biological age, the ‘true’ age of the biological body.

Researchers built a model using 16 blood biomarkers, including cholesterol, and glucose along with the participant’s gender, blood pressure, and BMI. Then, they applied this model to data retrieved from 2617 Chinese adults.

The findings were mind-boggling. They found an average of 5.7 years of difference between these adults’ chronological age and the model-predicted biological age.

On top of that, researchers observed that psychological factors, particularly hopelessness, loneliness, and unhappiness, can contribute to up to 1.65 years of biological aging.  

In contrast, the model predicted that smokers’ biological age was 1.5 years ahead of their non-smoking peers. This observation surmises that loneliness is more detrimental compared to a proven harmful activity, smoking.

But the model utilizes data based on particular demographics and a follow-up study on a pan-continental is necessary, opined experts based at University College London.

Despite arbitrary pitfalls of every analysis, this study directs us to the same point. Not only quitting to smoke can prolong our lives, but also socializing can help us lead a healthy, long life.

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