Retirees, especially those who live alone, may lower their risk of depression by going online, sending emails or browsing the Web.

A research team from Michigan State University, Harvard Medical School and several other academic institutions analyzed existing data on more than 22,000 older adults and found that those who used the Internet had a 33 percent "reduction in the probability" of depression.

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The researchers said the Internet gives isolated older adults "a chance to overcome" social boundaries that can cause depression and can "counter the effects of isolation and loneliness, which are more common among older adults." As many as 10 million adults 50 and older suffer from depression.

The study was published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B.