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Published on Jul 23, 2012
For older adults, loneliness is a major risk factor for health problems -- such as cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's -- and death. Initial attempts to diminish loneliness with social networking programs like creating community centers to encourage new relationships have not been effective.
However, a new study led by Carnegie Mellon University's J. David Creswell offers the first evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces loneliness in older adults. Published in "Brain, Behavior & Immunity," the researchers also found that mindfulness meditation reduces pro-inflammatory gene expression and lowered inflammation levels; inflammation is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases. These findings provide valuable insights into how mindfulness meditation training can be used as a novel approach for reducing loneliness and the risk of disease in older adults.