The Lonely Brain: How Designing For Brain Health Can Help Tackle The Loneliness Epidemic


Loneliness is a major public health problem, not just in older people but across all age groups. There is increasing evidence that loneliness impacts negatively on all aspects of our health, and increasing the risk of depression and dementia. Addressing loneliness and its antecedents could significantly improve well being at the population level but to achieve this we need to target  the many environmental and social determinants of loneliness. This talk will discuss what loneliness is, its effect on the brain and how designing for brain health can potentially  help tackle the current loneliness epidemic. 


Brian Lawlor is a professor of old age psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, and Site Director of Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity. He is a geriatric psychiatrist with an interest in dementia, late-life depression, loneliness and brain health. Brian has worked for over 30 years on developing services and delivering care to people with dementia. His research interests range from early detection and prevention to evaluating new treatments for dementia Brian graduated from University College Dublin Medical School and received his internal medicine training in Dublin. He then completed a psychiatry residency at University of Florida, Gainesville and a fellowship in geriatric psychopharmacology at the National Institute of Mental Health at Bethesda Maryland. After completing his fellowship, he was appointed Chief of Psychogeriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York after which he returned to Ireland as a Consultant Psychiatrist at St. James's Hospital and Trinity College Dublin