On May 3, the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. Disconnection fundamentally affects our mental, physical, and societal health. In fact, loneliness and isolation increase the risk for individuals to develop mental health challenges in their lives, and lacking connection can increase the risk for premature death to levels comparable to smoking daily.
The physical health consequences of poor or insufficient connection include a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease, a 32 percent increased risk of stroke, and a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia for older adults. Additionally, lacking social connection increases risk of premature death by more than 60 percent.
The Surgeon General’s Advisory lays out a framework for the United States to establish a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection. One of the tenets of the outlined strategy is to “mobilize the health sector” to assess patients for risk of loneliness and to intervene.
If you have a dog or cat, you’ve probably seen their ears moving toward an interesting or startling sound. For professional equestrians, watching the ears of their horse allows them to gauge their shifting attention. Humans still have these same muscles, and even more interesting is their relationship to our brain and how we pay attention. …
Tai Chi is not just for increasing balance; it may also help improve cognitive performance. In a recent randomized controlled trial, study participants who practiced a form of Tai Chi twice a week for six months improved their scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) when compared to a control group (Fuzhong et al, 2023)….
The majority of people are familiar with earthquakes, but there is another phenomenon that is not nearly as predictable, and louder—skyquakes. Skyquakes are enigmatic sounds, typically described as a very loud boom or trumpet-sounding noise that has no apparent cause and seems to come from the sky. Their sound is like distant, but very loud, thunder with…