A limerick on the health risks of social isolation

Today’s limerick is inspired by today’s New York Times post on the health risks of social isolation.

On meeting one seemingly solitary

Invite them out, even if they’re not merry

Tho’ you improve their health plight

Expect no return invite

And if lonely, of invites don’t be wary.

The study quoted in the post showed that social isolation leads to negative thinking, which makes them perceive social outreach as a threat.  The post summarizes the findings nicely:

There are lessons in this data for both the isolated and the communal, and they seem less facile now that they are backed by research. Be nice and gently welcoming to the curmudgeons you meet. Invite them to share coffee. Don’t push for reciprocal invitations, perhaps. And if you happen to be the curmudgeon, accept that invitation. It isn’t coming from a predator out to devour you.

It reminds me of Lyle Lovett’s take on this issue.


Published by Marion Sills

I am a Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado. I work as a physician in the emergency departments of the Children's Hospital of Colorado and as a health services researcher at the University's Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes (ACCORDS).

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