Lonely older adults have increased risk of illness and premature death. Various behavioural treatments have attempted to reduce loneliness and its associated health risks, but have had limited success. This study tested whether the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program (compared with a control group) reduces loneliness and reduces the inflammation often associated with loneliness in older adults. Consistent with study predictions, the MBSR program reduced loneliness, compared to small increases in loneliness in the control group. This work provides an initial indication that MBSR may be a novel treatment approach for reducing loneliness and related inflammation in older adults.
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Psychosocial stress contributes to high blood pressure and subsequent heart attacks and mortality. Researchers in this study evaluated, over the long term, all-cause and cause-specific mortality in older people who had high blood pressure and who participated in randomised controlled trials that included meditation and other behavioural stress-decreasing interventions. Compared with controls, the meditation group showed a 23% decrease in all-cause mortality. Further analyses showed a 30% decrease in the rate of cardiovascular mortality and a 49% decrease in the rate of mortality. These results suggest that a specific stress-decreasing approach used in the prevention and control of high blood pressure, such as meditation programmes, may contribute to decreased mortality from all causes and cardiovascular disease in older subjects who have systemic high blood pressure.
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