Loneliness `spreads like a disease`

London: Believe it or not, loneliness
spreads like a disease.

An international team has carried out the study and
found that people who feel lonesome can spread that feeling to
others "like a cold".

The study found that lonely people tend to spread
their outlook on life to others and that over time the whole
group of lonely, disconnected people move to the fringes of
society, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.

Lead researcher Dr John Cacioppo of Chicago University
said: "We detected an extraordinary pattern of contagion that
leads people to be moved to the edge of the social network
when they become lonely.

"On the periphery people have fewer friends, yet their
loneliness leads them to losing the few ties they have left.
These reinforcing effects mean that our social fabric can fray
at the edges, like a yarn that comes loose at the end of a
crocheted sweater.

"Because loneliness is associated with a variety of
mental and physical diseases that can shorten life it is
important for people to recognise loneliness and help those
people connect with their social group before the lonely
individuals move to the edges."