Study Finds Sitting For Long Periods May Increase Risk Of Dementia

Older adults who sit for longer period of time for any kind of activity for a long period of time may develop an increased risk of dementia.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaPublished at: Aug 25, 2022Updated at: Aug 25, 2022
Study Finds Sitting For Long Periods May Increase Risk Of Dementia

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning such as the ability to think, remember, and reason basic every day chores of life. The severity is to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot even control their emotions, and therefore their personalities change over the time.

According to a recent study, older adults over the age of 60 who sit for longer period of time for any kind of activity like watching TV or when they read or use the computer or in other passive sedentary behaviour for a long period of time may develop an increased risk of dementia.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings also revealed that the link between sedentary behaviour and dementia risk persisted even among participants who were physically active in their lives. 

Talking about the research study author David Raichlen, professor of biological sciences and anthropology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences said, "It isn't the time spent sitting at all, but the type of sedentary activity performed during leisure time that impacts the risk of dementia." 

"We know from several past studies that watching TV involves low levels of muscle activity and energy use compared with using a computer or reading. And while research has also shown that uninterrupted sitting for long periods is linked with reduced blood flow in the brain and body, the relatively greater intellectual stimulation that occurs during computer use may counteract to the negative effects of sitting," professor Raichlen added.

The proper and accurate analysis more than 1,45,000 participants over the age of 60 were sent out touchscreen questionnaires to self-report information about their levels of sedentary behaviour during the year 2006-2010. After a 12 year follow up, researchers used hospital records to determine dementia diagnosis and found a total of 3,507 positive cases.

Also read: Study Finds Just One Hour Per Week Of Walking Help Older Adults Live Longer

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

"Our findings also suggest that the brain impacts of sitting during our leisure activities are really separate from how physically active we are and that being more mentally active like when using computers, maybe a key way to help counter the increased risk of dementia related to more passive sedentary behaviours, like watching TV," said Alexander. 

Knowing how sedentary activities impact human health could lead to some improvements. What we do while we're sitting matters. This knowledge is critical when it comes to designing targeted public health interventions aimed at reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disease from sedentary activities through positive behaviour change," Raichlen added.

 
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