Social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic may worsen Parkinson’s symptoms, researchers report.
They gathered five years of information on the social and emotional well-being, diet and physical activity of 1,500 Parkinson’s disease patients. They were most recently surveyed in December 2019.
Those who reported feeling the loneliest got less exercise, were less likely to have a healthy diet, and had a lower quality of life, according to the study published recently in the journal NPJ Parkinson’s Disease.
“That surprised us,” said study author Dr. Indu Subramanian, a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Southwest Veteran Affairs Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers.
“One of the most detrimental things is actually being lonely,” she said in a university news release.
The negative effect of loneliness on Parkinson’s disease symptom severity was as large as the positive effect from exercise, according to Subramanian.