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Loneliness may be related to genetics: Study

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, July 21, 2018  /  05:25 pm
Loneliness may be related to genetics: Study

They also found a link between weight and loneliness, suggesting that one impacts the other, which leads them to believe that trying to fix both together might be the best solution.  (Shutterstock/File)

While everyone has their moments of loneliness, a new study has found that our genes may be responsible for these feelings of isolation.

According to ScienceAlert , researchers working on behalf of the UK’s Biobank surveyed 487,647 participants and found 15 gene regions linked to loneliness. As one in four people over the age of 65 in the UK suffer from loneliness, potentially leading to an early death, this finding could be a big breakthrough.

They also found a link between weight and loneliness, suggesting that one impacts the other, which leads them to believe that trying to fix both together might be the best solution.

"We often think that loneliness is driven purely by our surrounding environment and life experiences, but this study demonstrates that genes can also play a role," a team member, John Perry from the University of Cambridge in the UK, told The Telegraph.

"There is always a complex mix of genes and environment, but it does suggest that at a population level, if we could tackle obesity we would be able to bring down loneliness as well."

Read also: Six ways to beat loneliness when depression occurs

The surveyed participants were asked about their habits, and it was found that there were variations in six gene regions linked to preferring the gym, while there were 18 gene regions linked to whether people went to religious groups. Researchers then combined these answers with traits identified in previous studies, such as depression and obesity.

The researchers believe that between 4 and 5 percent of our tendency to feel lonely could be inherited and that this study is the strongest case for the link between loneliness and genetics. 

"Our findings highlight the specific genetic basis for social isolation and social interaction," wrote the researchers. "We find evidence for shared genetic effects across social traits, in addition to more specific pathways that drive engagement in particular activities." (sul/kes)

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