Research over the last decade has shown that loneliness is an important determinant of health. It is associated with considerable physical and mental health risks and increased mortality. Previous studies have also shown that wisdom could serve as a protective factor against loneliness. This inverse relationship between loneliness and wisdom may be based in different brain processes.
In a study published in the March 5, 2021 online edition of Cerebral Cortex, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that specific regions of the brain respond to emotional stimuli related to loneliness and wisdom in opposing ways.
“We were interested in how loneliness and wisdom relate to emotional biases, meaning how we respond to different positive and negative emotions,” said Jyoti Mishra, PhD, senior author of the study, director of the NEATLabs and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
A new study shows a sort of signature in the brains of lonely people that make them distinct in fundamental ways, based on variations in the volume of different brain regions as well as based on how those regions communicate with one another across brain networks.
This holiday season will be a lonely one for many people as social distancing due to COVID-19 continues, and it is important to understand how isolation affects our health. A new study shows a sort of signature in the brains of lonely people that make them distinct in fundamental ways, based on variations in the volume of different brain regions as well as based on how those regions communicate with one another across brain networks.
A team of researchers examined the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, genetics and psychological self-assessments of approximately 40,000 middle-aged and older adults who volunteered to have their information included in the UK Biobank: an open-access database available to health scientists around the world. They then compared the MRI data of participants who reported often feeling lonely with those who did not.
Full disclosure. I am a senior who lives alone. I do have a girlfriend and a dog whom I consider to be constant companions, so that may temper the damage of living solo as reported by Medical News Today.
When it comes to aging, I am reminded pretty much daily of the old saw, “Nobody said it was easy.” We need to work on our nutrition and our exercise every day of our lives as we age. But, that is not the complete answer. “Man does not live by bread alone.” It turns out that we need to take a hint from the Millennials around us and engage with others socially, too.
Writing in Medical News Today, Honor Whiteman reported on the importance or our social needs, also.
Two new meta-analyses from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT, reveal that loneliness and social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by up to 50 percent.
While loneliness and social isolation are often used interchangeably, there are notable differences between the two. Social isolation is defined as a lack of contact with other individuals, while loneliness is the feeling that one is emotionally disconnected from others. In essence, a person can be in the presence of others and still feel lonely. Continue reading →
“Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,” said Tim Smith, co-author of the study. “With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future.”
Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they’ll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly.
Now research from Brigham Young University shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.
“The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead study author. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”
Loneliness and social isolation can look very different. For example, someone may be surrounded by many people but still feel alone. Other people may isolate themselves because they prefer to be alone. The effect on longevity, however, is much the same for those two scenarios.
The association between loneliness and risk for mortality among young populations is actually greater than among older populations. Although older people are more likely to be lonely and…
Does Posting Facebook Status Updates Increase or Decrease Loneliness? An Online Social Networking Experiment
Online social networking is a pervasive but empirically understudied phenomenon.
Strong public opinions on its consequences exist but are backed up by little empirical evidence and almost no causally conclusive, experimental research.
The current study tested the psychological effects of posting status updates on Facebook using an experimental design.
For 1 week, participants in the experimental condition were asked to post more than they usually do, whereas participants in the control condition received no instructions. Participants added a lab “Research Profile” as a Facebook friend allowing for the objective documentation of protocol compliance, participants’ status updates, and friends’ responses.
Results revealed (1) that the experimentally induced increase in status updating activity reduced loneliness, (2) that the decrease in loneliness was due to participants feeling more connected to their friends on a daily basis, and…