The Brain and Social Connectedness:GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health

Global Council on Brain Health
Description / Summary

Given the importance of the topic of social engagement for people of all cultures, the GCBH convened a meeting to discuss current scientific evidence underlying the question: how does social engagement affect our brain health as we age? On October 20-22, 2016, members of the GCBH met at Age UK in London.

While individuals vary in the degree to which they seek out social connections, humans share a fundamental need to interact with other people. Experiencing relationships and enjoyable contacts with others and sharing joint activities usually contributes to people’s feelings of well-being. From a brain health perspective, research suggests that older people who are more socially engaged and have larger social networks tend to have a higher level of cognitive function. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of this research.

This paper is not intended to be an exhaustive review of all pertinent scientific literature on the topic of social engagement and brain health. Rather the selected references listed at the end provide helpful background material and present a sizeable sample of the current evidence base underpinning the GCBH consensus in this area.