BBC World News interviews Dr. Carla Perissinotto about her study on the link between loneliness and serious health problems and even death among older adults.
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing word.
The interview starts at 0’:25” and goes up to 3’28” .
Now loneliness is bad for your head, health. That's the conclusion of two (1) ... medical studies in the United States which concluded that people living alone have a shorter life (2) ... . Scientists from the University of California studied 1600 elderly people over six years. They found that those who lived on their own were 45% higher risk of death. A separate study with more than (3) ... people suggested that those living alone with heart disease also tend to die sooner. Well, I’m joined now from San Francisco by the lead author of that report, Dr Carla Perissinotto from the University of California in San Francisco.
Why is it that people who live on their own are likely to die earlier, do you think?
You know, it's an interesting question and I think an important part of the study is not necessarily that they're living alone but rather even if when someone is living with someone else, if they are feeling (4) ... lonely, this is what is placing them at greatest risk. The thought is that there may be something related to their biology, whether it's increased inflammation or whether it's something socially mediated like an inability to (5) ... ... oneself as well.
So, in other words, how did you measure loneliness? So you did have people in your study who were married, perhaps, but still declared themselves to be lonely, is that correct?
That's correct. That is, again, one of the most fascinating parts is that we asked people over the age of 60 to describe whether they felt that they (6) ... companionship, felt alone or felt socially isolated and when someone answered ‘yes’ to these questions, we classified them as lonely and it didn't mean that most of the people who reported feeling lonely actually were living with someone else or who were married, so again this relates to an issue of social connectivity (7) ... you could be surrounded by people but feel, still feel (8) ... about being alone.
So do you think it's a psychological component to that, I mean, if you're lonely, if you feel lonely, you're less likely to perhaps look after yourself or pay attention to your health?
That’s exactly right, and I think that's where the next step is needed to focus on, is seeing where the exact mechanism is. There are, there are studies that postulate that there may be a difference in sleep, ability for someone to remember to take their medications, for example, go to the doctor's office. But we don't… our study did not exactly look at that causation. What it did show is that as (9) ... , as geriatricians, as family members, we need to be paying attention to our (10) ... and to older adults around us, and think about what other factors could be influencing their health, their risk of losing independence and, ultimately, their risk of death.
Dr Perissinotto, thank you very much.
1 major 2 expectancy 3 44,000 4 subjectively 5 care for 6 lacked 7 whereas 8 distressed 9 physicians 10 elderly