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Loneliness

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This story was produced as a project for the 2018 California Fellowship, a program of the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg. ...
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When I tackled the topic of loneliness as a 2013 National Health Journalism Fellowship project, I honestly didn't think it would be hard to find people who were lonely so that I could write about the issue. I was right and wrong.

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Childhood cancers, behavior-impacting disabilities like autism, extremely brittle bones or compromised immune systems are just some of the conditions that may leave kids — and by extension, their families — feeling lonely.

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For refugees, homesickness & loneliness are often inseparable — symptoms hard to untangle. Refugees in the throes of loneliness and social isolation may suffer depression, lethargy, headaches, exhaustion and more. It makes it harder to learn needed skills like language or cultural understanding.

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Loneliness, as a medical matter, has begun to capture the attention of health experts worldwide. A growing body of research compares loneliness to documented health killers like smoking and obesity.

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Studies have linked loneliness and social isolation to an array of potentially devastating health challenges, including Alzheimer’s and other neurologically degenerative conditions, diabetes, overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.

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