People who watched big amounts that TV in midlife experienced greater cognitive declines in their an elderly years.

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Spending lots of time watching TV in midlife may be bad for your brain health in your an elderly years, follow to result from three new studies.


The studies uncovered that people who reported watching center to huge amounts that TV in their 40s, 50s and early 60s experienced higher cognitive declines, and also had lower volumes that gray matter in your brains, in your 70s and 80s, contrasted with people who reported watching very little TV in midlife. Gray matter is involved in many mind functions, consisting of muscle control, vision, hearing and decision-making, the researcher said. Higher volumes the gray matter have been linked with far better cognitive skills.

The studies, which will certainly be presented this week in ~ the American love Association\"s Epidemiology, avoidance - lifestyle & Cardiometabolic health and wellness Conference 2021, supplied TV viewing together a proxy for sedentary behavior, or time spent sitting. A sedentary way of living has currently been connected with several health problems, including an boosted risk of heart disease, cancer, form 2 diabetes and also early death. What\"s more, continuous exercise isn\"t necessarily enough to comprise for time invested sitting — a finding that was seen in both the current studies and also previous research.

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\"In our findings, television viewing remained associated with cognitive duty and gray matter volume after accountancy for physics activity, saying that this sedentary habits may send a distinctive risk through respect to mind and cognitive health,\" Ryan Dougherty, lead writer of among the studies and a postdoctoral fellow in the room of public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg institution of Public health in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a statement. Provided that the biological processes the underlie dementia, such as mind decay, often tend to begin in midlife, \"that\"s a duration modifiable behaviors, together as excessive television viewing, have the right to be targeted and also reduced to encourage healthy mind aging,\" Dougherty said.


And part studies suggest that, as far as sedentary habits go, TV watching may pose specific risks, together it is a passive actions that doesn\"t involve a lot of cognitive stimulation, the researchers said.

\"In the context of cognitive and mind health, not all sedentary behaviors are equal; non-stimulating sedentary tasks such as television viewing are linked to better risk of occurring cognitive impairment, vice versa, cognitively stimulating sedentary tasks are linked with preserved cognition and reduced likelihood of dementia,\" Dougherty said.

Too much TV?

Two of the new studies supplied data indigenous the Atherosclerosis hazard In communities Neurocognitive study (ARIC-NCS), which started in the mid-1980s, when participants to be 45 come 64 years old. At the time, they to be asked just how much castle watched TV during their leisure time, v responses taped as \"never or seldom\" (low TV watching), \"sometimes\" (medium/moderate TV watching) or \"often/very often\" (high TV watching). Researchers complied with up through the attendees in the 1990s, when they again answered questions about their TV city hall habits and completed cognitive tests. During an additional evaluation, between 2011 and also 2013, they received mind MRI scans to look for structural mite of mind health, consisting of the volume of gray matter.


One study, led by Priya Palta, one assistant professor of medical sciences and also epidemiology in ~ Columbia University, analyzed details from 10,700 adults in the ARIC-NCS study. The researchers concentrated on the results of participants\" cognitive tests, which consisted of tests that memory, language and mind processing speed.

They uncovered that civilization who reported moderate to high TV the town hall in midlife experienced a 7% greater decline in cognitive function (based on their test results) over a 15-year period, contrasted with those that reported short TV viewing.

Another study, led by Kelley Pettee Gabriel, a professor of public health in the school of Public health and wellness at the university of Alabama in ~ Birmingham, analyzed details from about 1,600 ARIC-NCS participants and focused top top the results of your MRI scans.

They discovered that, compared with civilization who reported short TV viewing, those who reported moderate to high TV viewing had actually lower quantities of gray matter an ext than a decade later, describe greater brain deterioration.

\"Our findings indicate that the amount of tv viewing, a kind of sedentary behavior, might be related to cognitive decline and imaging mite of brain health,\" Palta said. \"Therefore, reducing sedentary behaviors, such as tv viewing, might be vital lifestyle change target to support optimal brain health.\"

A 3rd study, led by Dougherty, used data from the Coronary Artery Risk advancement in Young adults Study, which additionally began in the mid-1980s but affiliated people who were in their 30s at the research start, and also followed these participants because that 20 years. The researcher analyzed details from 600 participants, who were inquiry how countless hours per day they spent watching TV, and additionally underwent mind MRI scans.


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They found that more TV viewing to be tied to reduced gray-matter volume two decades later. The researchers calculated that each one-hour rise in a person\"s day-to-day average TV the town hall time was tied to a 0.5% palliation in gray-matter volume. That\"s similar to the lot of gray-matter atrophy that\"s generally seen over the food of a year in mid to so late adulthood, Dougherty said.

Future studies

Although the studies found an association between TV watching and cognitive decrease and reduced mind volumes later on in life, they cannot prove that heavy TV city hall actually brought about these outcomes. Back the research studies accounted for some components that might affect mind health — including age, education and learning level and also the existence of specific genes tied come Alzheimer\"s threat — castle did no ask about total sedentary time, or tease out TV viewing native other varieties of sedentary behavior. The studies also relied top top participants\" reports of your TV the town hall time, which might not be reliable.

In addition, the researches cannot recognize why TV the town hall was attached with these outcomes. It\"s unclear whether sedentary behavior is certainly responsible for the attach or whether part other components tied come TV watching, such as raised food consumption, might play a role.

The researcher said an ext studies are essential to check the findings, consisting of studies that use objective measures of sedentary behavior (like task trackers), and those the examine differences in passive and active sedentary behavior, in relation to cognitive decrease and brain health markers.


Originally published on Live Science.

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Rachael Rettner
Senior Writer
Rachael has been with Live Science due to the fact that 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from new York University\"s Science, Health and also Environmental reporting Program. She likewise holds a Bachelor of science in molecule biology and a grasp of scientific research in biology from the college of California, mountain Diego.