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Avoid this type of activity while sitting


A study found that frequent passive sedentary activities, such as watching TV, may increase the risk of developing dementia.

Research has shown that what older people do while sitting affects their risk of developing dementia.

According to a recent study conducted by University of Southern California and University of Arizona People age 60 and older who spend a lot of time in front of the TV or engage in other passive, sedentary behaviors may be more likely to develop dementia, the researchers found.

In addition, their study found that the risk was reduced for those who engaged in sedentary activities, such as reading or using a computer.

The study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also found that even among those who were physically active, the association between a sedentary lifestyle and dementia risk persisted.

“It’s not the amount of time spent sitting that affects the risk of dementia, but the type of leisure-time sedentary activity,” said study author David Reichlen, a professor of biological sciences and anthropology at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College. Letters, arts and sciences.

“We know from past research that watching TV involves lower levels of muscle activity and energy expenditure compared to using a computer or reading,” he said. “And while studies have shown that sitting continuously for long periods of time is associated with reduced blood flow to the brain, the relatively greater intellectual stimulation that occurs during computer use may counteract the negative effects of sitting.”

The researchers examined the potential link between dementia in older people and sedentary time, using self-reported data from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database with more than 500,000 participants across the UK.

During the baseline assessment period of 2006–2010. more than 145,000 people aged 60 and over who had not been diagnosed with dementia completed touch-screen questionnaires to self-report their levels of sedentary lifestyle.

Researchers analyzed hospital records to determine dementia diagnoses after nearly 12 years of follow-up. 3507 positive cases were identified.

The researchers then adjusted for certain demographics (such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and type of job) and lifestyle factors (such as exercise, smoking and alcohol use, amount of sleep, and social interaction) that may have had an effect. on brain health.

Effects of physical activity and mental activity on risk

The results remained the same even after the researchers took physical activity levels into account. Even in highly active individuals, time spent watching television was associated with an increased risk of dementia, while leisure time spent using a computer was associated with a decreased risk of dementia.

“Although we know that physical activity is good for our brain health, many of us think that if we are simply more physically active during the day, we can counteract the negative effects of time spent sitting,” said study author Gene Alexander, professor of Psychology and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona.

“Our findings suggest that the effect on the brain of sitting during leisure time is really different from how physically active we are,” said Alexander, “and that being more mentally active, such as when using a computer, may be a key way to counteract the increase risk of dementia associated with more passive sedentary behavior, such as watching TV.’

Knowing how sedentary activity affects a person’s health may lead to some improvements.

“What we do while we sit matters,” Reichlen added. “This knowledge is essential when it comes to designing targeted public health interventions to reduce the risk of sedentary neurodegenerative diseases through positive behavioral changes.”

Reference: David A. Reichlen, Ian S. Clementidis, M. Catherine Sayre, Pradyumna K. Bharadwaj, Mark H. C. Lai, Rand R. “Leisure-time sedentary behavior is differentially associated with all-cause dementia, independent of physical activity”. Wilcox and Jean E. Alexander, August 22, 2022. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2206931119

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the State of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health, and the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

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