Loneliness Changes the Brain

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We live in an ageing society. But what does that really mean?

What Does Loneliness Look Like in the Brain?

The researchers used data from the UK Biobank imaging-genetics for approximately 40,000 people aged between 40–69 years along with demographic characteristics and a single binary yes or no question “Do you often feel lonely?”

Picture Credit: neuroscientificallychallenged.com, Know Your Brain: Default Mode Network
Picture Credit: Nature Communications, Article number: 6393 (2020)

Key Takeaways

Reading this research made me think of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away where he has a ball named Wilson that he talks to and uses for companionship while stranded on a desert island. Recently I have found myself talking to my dog more, even though she clearly cannot have a proper conversation. This instinct to maintain conversation and stimulate our thoughts, even when alone is very intriguing.

  • The importance of positive internal self-talk and feelings.
  • How our imagination and thoughts can be more vivid when we are alone.



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Caroline Laurenson

Caroline Laurenson

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Caroline is an engineer, the MD of TL Tech and creator of Kindspace. TL Tech transform lives, particularly for vulnerable adults using smart home technologies