Tamami Shirai, M.S., Ph.D., is a researcher at the School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, and a consultant in global research/healthcare research for major consulting firms. Dr. Shirai has a broad background in psychology, Mind-Body Medicine, research, and organizational development in global organizations. Dr. Shirai has worked on chronic disease management in interdisciplinary settings, and currently, she is working on a UCSD pilot study on the use of a nutrition approach to affect cerebral blood flow among people with metabolic syndrome. Her dissertation focused on lifestyle and healthy behaviors among people with cardiovascular disease in the USA and Japan. She brings lifestyle modification techniques to her practice, a mindfulness-based meditation class at a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation center in San Diego. Dr. Shirai joined American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in 2015. Since then she has worked with ACLM, Asian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM), and Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA) and is now taking important leadership in Japanese Society of Lifestyle Medicine (JSLM). Dr. Shirai is integrating her research, clinical practice and role as social advocate to provide effective solutions to people with chronic conditions and to increase people’s awareness of new knowledge and techniques for bring healthier life to communities globally. Dr. Shirai is originally from Tokyo, Japan, and now lives in San Diego with her husband. She loves dancing and nature walks.

Title of Presentation

The Health Risk of Loneliness and Social Isolation: What Science Knows and Doesn’t Know

Learning Objectives

To understand the background; what is loneliness, what is social isolation and why are loneliness and social isolation being given more attention in the medical and healthcare field today?
To learn about the health risks of loneliness and social isolation by exploring published articles.
To learn about loneliness and social isolation in different environments and cultures.
To explore the potential underlying mechanism of loneliness.
To explore what we should keep in mind and what we can do in our services to combat loneliness.

Brief Description

In 2017, the American Psychological Association announced the finding that
loneliness and social isolation may represent a greater public health hazard than obesity, and their health impact has been growing and will continue to grow. In fact, the ‘Loneliness Study’ in 2010 reported that a little over one-third (35%) of survey participants feel lonely in the U.S. Research has reported that chronic loneliness increases depression, suicidal ideation, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, and adversely affects the immune system and cardiovascular system. It also results from premature mortality and hospitalization. Loneliness is not a mental symptom and now has become a disease. This presentation will explain the history of research about loneliness and social isolation, what kind of evidence is available for discussing them, and what is the underlying mechanism of loneliness.


M.S., Ph.D.

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