A new study has found that spending too many hours in front of the TV may favor the development of Alzheimer’s disease. So remember all those time when you were little and your mother used to tell you that too much TV damages your brain? Yeah, it turns out she was right.
Experts from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education (San Francisco) explained at the International Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association that they set out to investigate the link between cognitive performance, having a sedentary lifestyle, and the potential for developing dementia.
What they found was that those who spend an average of four (4) or more hours each day in front of the TV had considerably lower scores on cognitive performance tests during their middle age years. What’s more, those who also admitted to spending little or no time doing physical exercises performed even worse then the first group.
Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and neurology from the University of California (San Francisco), gave a statement saying that these results are very alarming as modern day kids, teens and young adults are spending more hours than ever in front of TVs, computers and various gadgets.
She quickly went on to add that the study has also shown that changing this sedentary lifestyle can in fact lower the risk of cognitive decline. She stressed that this is something people have the power to do something about.
For their study, professor Yaffe and her colleagues looked at 3.247 individuals over the course of 25 years. The subjects were all young adults with the age between 18 and 30 when the study started.
They were questioned on their TV viewing habits and physical activity habits three (3) separate times during the 25 years. A person is considered to have poor physical activity if they burn less than 300 calories during a 50 minute exercise session that that takes place three (3) times each week.
A person is believed to spend too much time in front of the TV if they allocate it more than four (4) hours per day.
Seventeen percent (17%) of the 3.247 subject answered that they have poor physical activity, 11 percent (11%) pf them answered that they spend too much time watching TV, and 3 percent (3%) of them answered that they fit in both groups.
If one of the subjects found themselves in both groups on two (2) of the three (3) questioners, they were considered to have a sedentary lifestyle that lasted for a long period of time.
When compared to subjects who watched less TV, the results showed that subjects who watched too much TV had 1.5 percent (1.5%) more of a chance of performing poorly on cognitive performance tests.
On top of this, subjects who both watched too much TV and spent little time doing physical exercises were found to be twice as likely to perform poorly on cognitive performance tests than people with a healthy lifestyle.
Since the tests were taken when the subjects were in their middle age years, professor Yaffe felt it was important to mention that what happens during a person’s midlife will dictate what’s going to happen in the next 20 to 30 years of their life. Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is likely to lead to dementia during latter years.
Over five (5) million elderly adults are affected by Alzheimer’s disease just in the US. Even more alarming, experts believe that this number will reach 13.5 million before we enter 2050.
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