UTEP and Community Partners Awarded $1.5M NSF Grant to Improve Quality of Life for Senior Citizens through Technology

A team of interdisciplinary researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso in collaboration with the City of El Paso and El Paso Community College recently was awarded nearly $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation to develop and sustain the social connectedness of seniors to improve their quality of life through technology, community engagement and social sciences.

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Huge Study Links Risky Drinking with Low Social Support and Area of Residence

People who report having low social support are substantially more likely to experience heavy drinking and binge drinking than those who feel more supported, a large European study suggests. The researchers also found strong evidence that risky drinking is associated with areas of residence. Although alcohol use is known to be linked to social, economic, and demographic factors, the research is incomplete; it is not clear to what extent some of these factors, especially environmental conditions, predict dangerous drinking. Investigators in Spain designed a study that was unusual in exploring both heavy drinking and binge drinking and both individual and contextual (environmental) factors. The study, in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, confirmed individual risk factors and highlighted certain environmental conditions that may help target interventions for those at risk.

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Researchers Discover a Specific Brain Circuit Damaged by Social Isolation During Childhood

Study shows long-lasting effects and points the way to potential treatments

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FSU researchers find resilience, not loneliness, in nationwide study of pandemic response

Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has not led to an overall increase in loneliness among Americans.

That’s the takeaway from a comprehensive, nationwide study by Florida State University College of Medicine researchers who surveyed more than 2,000 people before and during the enactment of stay-at-home policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Robotic Cats Are ‘Purr-fect’ Companions for Seniors Isolated Due to COVID-19

Researchers provide the “purr-fect” solution to comfort and engage older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias (ADRD) during the pandemic – interactive robotic cats. Designed to respond to motion, touch and sound, these robotic pets offer an alternative to traditional pet therapy. Robotic pets are usually given to people with ADRD, but data has shown that using them to decrease social isolation for older adults is highly successful.

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Be proactive about mental health during COVID isolation, clinical psychologist says

Seeking out good news is a great way to keep mentally balanced during the long period of social isolation imposed by the COVID-19 battle, says a clinical psychologist who is an associate professor of psychology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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WashU Expert: Stuck in the house for a while? Here are some tips

As schools and entertainment venues close due to the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are seeing our social circles reduced quite significantly. An expert on social support at Washington University in St. Louis offers a few evidence-based suggestions for thriving during household isolation.“We don’t know for sure what the long-term health outcomes of widespread forced social isolation will be, but given what we know about the effects of social isolation and stress on physical and mental health, there is reason to be concerned,” said Tess Thompson, research assistant professor at the Brown School and author of a recent study on social isolation and health.

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Parents’ social isolation linked to their children’s health

Parents’ social isolation was linked to self-reported poorer health not only for themselves but also for their adolescent children, finds a study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.“The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrelationship between parent and adolescent social isolation and health,” said Tess Thompson, research assistant professor.

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Avoiding Social Isolation in Older Adults Over the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a time for celebration and togetherness, but they can be tough on older adults who run a high risk of being socially isolated. Social isolation can be easily overlooked as a health concern even though it can have the same negative impact on an older adult’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Cedars-Sinai geriatricians Sonja Rosen, MD, and Allison Mays, MD, MAS, offer tips on combatting loneliness.

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