Researchers in the UK analyzed nearly 12 years of data that was taken from 150,000 people - all aged over 60. They discovered that the participants who watched TV more than the ones who didn't were more likely to develop dementia. The condition typically advanced in those who were in their senior years and caused people to lose their ability to think, remember, or reason. Here's what the study found.
The participants in the study who had dementia reported to have spent 3 hours and 24 minutes of TV each day. While those who didn't develop the disease that causes people to lose cognitive function reported to have not watched 3 hours of TV but instead were seen to have been on a computer 6 minutes longer a day. "Compared with less than two hours, four hours of TV was associated with a 20% increased risk of dementia," explained Professor David Raichlen from the University of Southern California. "Compared with no computer use, 1 hour was associated with a 25% decrease."
The researchers from the study explained, "Sedentary behaviours, like watching television or using a computer, take up a large portion of adult leisure time and are linked to increased risk of chronic disease and mortality." This fact led them to study how this sedentary behavior could potentially affect our brains and cognition as we age. "We investigated whether sedentary behaviours are associated with all-cause dementia regardless of physical activity."
And as it turns out, they were right - it does influence us and predicts whether or not someone will consequently develop dementia or not. "Our results help clarify associations of sedentary behaviour with brain health and suggest that it is not time spent sitting per se but the type of context... that is associated with dementia risk." The authors reiterated, "Reducing cognitively passive TV watching and increasing more cognitively active sedentary behaviours are promising targets for reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disease." For more information, check out the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal to read the rest of the fascinating study.