Article

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: A small randomized controlled trial

Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States.
Brain Behavior and Immunity (Impact Factor: 5.89). 07/2012; 26(7):1095-101. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.07.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Lonely older adults have increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes as well as increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Previous behavioral treatments have attempted to reduce loneliness and its concomitant health risks, but have had limited success. The present study tested whether the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program (compared to a Wait-List control group) reduces loneliness and downregulates loneliness-related pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults (N=40). Consistent with study predictions, mixed effect linear models indicated that the MBSR program reduced loneliness, compared to small increases in loneliness in the control group (treatment condition×time interaction: F(1,35)=7.86, p=.008). Moreover, at baseline, there was an association between reported loneliness and upregulated pro-inflammatory NF-κB-related gene expression in circulating leukocytes, and MBSR downregulated this NF-κB-associated gene expression profile at post-treatment. Finally, there was a trend for MBSR to reduce C Reactive Protein (treatment condition×time interaction: (F(1,33)=3.39, p=.075). This work provides an initial indication that MBSR may be a novel treatment approach for reducing loneliness and related pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults.

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    • "Furthermore, a growing body of work has found that subjective social isolation is related to increased inflammation. For example, individuals who report feeling chronically lonely and distant from others, compared to individuals who report feeling more socially connected to others, exhibit up-regulation of genes involved in inflammation (Cole et al., 2007; Creswell et al., 2012). Lonelier individuals also show increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin(IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-) in response to an acute psychological stressor (Hackett et al., 2012; Jaremka et al., 2013a). "
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    ABSTRACT: One proposed mechanism for the association between social isolation and poor health outcomes is inflammation. Lonely or socially disconnected individuals show greater inflammatory responses, including up-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression, and people who are sensitive to cues of social disconnection (e.g., high levels of anxious attachment) exhibit greater inflammation in response to psychological stress. However, no studies have examined how sensitivity to social disconnection may influence pro-inflammatory responses to an inflammatory challenge. In the present study, we investigated the impact of sensitivity to social disconnection (a composite score comprised of loneliness, anxious attachment, fear of negative evaluation, and rejection sensitivity) on pro-inflammatory cytokines and gene expression in response to endotoxin, an inflammatory challenge, vs. placebo in a sample of one hundred and fifteen (. n=. 115) healthy participants. Results showed that those who are more sensitive to social disconnection show increased pro-inflammatory responses (i.e., increased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6) to endotoxin, as well as up-regulation of multiple genes related to inflammation. Furthermore, bioinformatics analyses revealed that those in the endotoxin group who are more sensitive to social disconnection exhibited a conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) regulatory profile, involving up-regulation of beta-adrenergic and pro-inflammatory transcription control pathways and down-regulation of antiviral transcription factors in response to endotoxin. These results may ultimately have implications for understanding the links between social isolation, inflammation, and health.Clinical Trials Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01671150.
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    • "Interventions in which older people are active participants also appeared more likely to be effective.In a recent review by Hagan et al., (2014) the following four studies found that their interventions were successful in reporting significant reductions in loneliness in elderly participants . a)Creswell et al.'s (2012) Mindfulness-based stress reduction training group programme, b)Kahlbaugh et al.'s (2011) oneto-one Nintendo Wii intervention, c)Banks et al.'s (2008) introduction of either a living or robotic dog, d)Tsai & Tsai's (2011) study on videoconferencing "
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    ABSTRACT: Loneliness could be defined as a subjective experience in which a person feels psychological discomfort because he/she is unable to increase the quality and/or quantity of relationships to the person’s desired level. Loneliness occurs following a perceived lack of and/or loss of significant relationships and can contribute to several physical and psychological health problems. Populations at risk for loneliness include the elderly, young college students, the seriously ill, the disabled, those who experience significant loss, and those who are isolated like the psychiatric patients. Specially, people presenting with psychological problems often experience social stigmatization and isolation. Since the patient may be reluctant to express loneliness, all the parties involved in patient’s care (physicians, mental health professionals, caregivers, family members) ought to look for the possible risk factors for loneliness, including age (elderly, young adult), recent relocation, recent death of significant other, gradual loss of important relationships over time, disabilities (intellectual or physical), serious illness, depression and other psychiatric disorders. Finally, psychological support of people suffering from loneliness may prevent further deterioration of their physical and mental health.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
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    • "Interventions in which older people are active participants also appeared more likely to be effective.In a recent review by Hagan et al., (2014) the following four studies found that their interventions were successful in reporting significant reductions in loneliness in elderly participants . a)Creswell et al.'s (2012) Mindfulness-based stress reduction training group programme, b)Kahlbaugh et al.'s (2011) oneto-one Nintendo Wii intervention, c)Banks et al.'s (2008) introduction of either a living or robotic dog, d)Tsai & Tsai's (2011) study on videoconferencing "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Loneliness could be defined as a subjective experience in which a person feels psychological discomfort because he/she is unable to increase the quality and/or quantity of relationships to the person’s desired level. Loneliness occurs following a perceived lack of and/or loss of significant relationships and can contribute to several physical and psychological health problems. Populations at risk for loneliness include the elderly, young college students, the seriously ill, the disabled, those who experience significant loss, and those who are isolated like the psychiatric patients. Specially, people presenting with psychological problems often experience social stigmatization and isolation. Since the patient may be reluctant to express loneliness, all the parties involved in patient’s care (physicians, mental health professionals, caregivers, family members) ought to look for the possible risk factors for loneliness, including age (elderly, young adult), recent relocation, recent death of significant other, gradual loss of important relationships over time, disabilities (intellectual or physical), serious illness, depression and other psychiatric disorders. Finally, psychological support of people suffering from loneliness may prevent further deterioration of their physical and mental health.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
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