Only the lonely

Published: Tuesday 15 June 1999

People who live alone and have few friends are prone to early death as their hearts' responses to stress are altered, say Myriam Horsten and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. In a study conducted on 300 healthy women, the researchers found women who lived alone and had few friends had little heart rate variation. Heart rates that do not vary greatly have been linked to early death, particularly from heart disease ( New Scientist , Vol 161, No 2174).

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