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Loneliness triggers genetic changes, mutant mosquitoes resist malaria and swine flu returns

Loneliness triggers genetic changes that can cause diseases and early death, reports the Telegraph.

The paper says it was already known loneliness was a major factor in shortening a person’s lifespan but up until now scientists were not aware of the genetic link.

US researchers found the ‘fight or flight’ response triggered by the stress affects production of white blood cells and increases activity in the genes which produce inflammation in the body.

Another group of US scientists are hoping they have found a way to prevent mosquitoes passing on malaria to humans – by genetically modifying the pesky little insects.

If these new mosquitoes, which act as a poor host for the malaria parasite, could be released into the wild, scientists believe they could breed resistant offspring to reduce the 580,000 deaths from malaria that still plagues the globe, writes the BBC.

The Daily Mail is wondering whether the ‘nasty bug’ hitting Britain is the feared swine flu returning. But in fact, the paper says, the strain never went away and this year especially low rates of vaccination means more people could be at risk of catching it.

It adds that the risk of another pandemic is low though, because many people either caught it and built up resistance, or were vaccinated, when the virus (not bug) made the rounds in 2009.