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Cry Unheard: New insights into the medical consequences of loneliness

James J Lynch


Reviewed by Antonia P. Sani


In our modern world, Lynch writes, telephones talk, radios talk. Computers and televisions do the same. However, there is “no-body” there.

Drawing on a lifetime of medical research, the author asserts that human speech has literally disappeared. He outlines and explains recent medical and scientific discoveries about academic failure, divorce and life alone. He goes on to demonstrate how childhood experiences with “toxic talk”-hurtful, controlling and manipulative speech from adults-contributes to an unbreakable type of loneliness which breaks hearts 10 to 40 years down the line.

Lynch predicts that “communicative disease will be as major a health threat as communicable disease”. He shows how greatly the human touch affects the hearts of intensive care patients. He describes in moving terms the “vascular seesaw of all human dialogue”. Blood pressure rises when we speak, dropping below baseline levels whenever we listen to others, relate to companion animals or attend to the rest of the natural world. It’s no wonder, the author admonishes that: “exercises on treadmills to improve physical health”.

Lynch seeds his work with two ominous observations-loneliness is a lethal human poison and that failure to act as our “brothers’keepers” may force us into communicative exile and premature death. Heartfelt dialogue, he concludes, could be and indeed should be the true elixir of modern life.

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