Loneliness increases a person’s risk of dementia by 40 percent, according to a data analysis of 12,030 participants over 10 years.

Researchers at the Florida State University College of Medicine found the risk applies to all demographics, including gender, race, ethnicity or education, as well as whether there is social contact with friends and family. The findings were published Friday in the Journals of Gerontology.

“We are not the first people to show that loneliness is associated with increased risk of dementia,” Dr. Angelina Sutin, an associate professor in FSU’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine and principal investigator on the study, said in a press release. “But this is by far the largest sample yet, with a long follow-up. And the population was more diverse.”

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