UCLA Launches Institute That Will Study — and Spread — Kindness

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Students walk through the UCLA campus in Westwood. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Students walk through the UCLA campus in Westwood. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

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A friendly smile. A food pantry donation. Or, a remarkable act of Los Angeles benevolence — allowing a driver to cut in front of you.

Such acts of kindness have a self-serving upside, too, as science has conclusively shown they also make you healthier.

Now UCLA is poised to advance that science with the Wednesday launch of the world’s first interdisciplinary research institute on kindness, which will explore, for instance, how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Research by UCLA scientists already has shown that mindfulness and kindness actually alter the behavior of genes, turning down those that promote inflammation, which can lead to heart disease or certain cancers, and turning up the activity of genes that protect against infections.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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