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Study points to growing cognitive gap between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers

watching tv adultToo Much TV And Chill Could Reduce Brain Pow­er Over Time (NPR):

Researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co checked in with 3,247 peo­ple for 25 years, start­ing when they were young adults…People who got lit­tle exer­cise or watched at least three hours of TV a day did worse on tests mea­sur­ing cog­ni­tive focus and speed than those who got more exer­cise or watched less TV, accord­ing to the study, pub­lished in JAMA Psy­chi­a­try on Wednes­day.

Then peo­ple who had both low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and high TV had even worse per­for­mance. It was an even big­ger effect,” says Dr. Kris­tine Yaffe, a psy­chi­a­trist at UCSF and senior author on the study.

…Richards says it’s rea­son­able to think the gap in cog­ni­tive func­tion between high-vol­ume TV watch­ers and infre­quent watch­ers might widen over the years.”

Study: Effect of Ear­ly Adult Pat­terns of Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty and Tele­vi­sion View­ing on Midlife Cog­ni­tive Func­tion (JAMA Psy­chi­a­try). From the abstract:

  • Impor­tance: Seden­tary behav­iors and phys­i­cal inac­tiv­i­ty are not only increas­ing world­wide but also are crit­i­cal risk fac­tors for adverse health out­comes. Yet, few stud­ies have exam­ined the effects of seden­tary behav­ior on cog­ni­tion or the long-term role of either behav­ior in ear­ly to mid­dle adult­hood.
  • Con­clu­sions and Rel­e­vance: High tele­vi­sion view­ing and low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in ear­ly adult­hood were asso­ci­at­ed with worse midlife exec­u­tive func­tion and pro­cess­ing speed. This is one of the first stud­ies to demon­strate that these risk behav­iors may be crit­i­cal tar­gets for pre­ven­tion of cog­ni­tive aging even before mid­dle age.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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