U.S. researchers have published preliminary studies that show that sitting down for too long can reduce the thickness of the medial temporal lobe, a brain structure that is very involved in memory. Furthermore, it's such thinning of brain features that become more prominent in people who suffer from dementia, the Los Angeles Times added. This means that the longer a person sits at a stretch, the worse the effects could be.
"Our analysis raises some very important issues, in particular, that efforts to prevent traumatic brain injury, especially in younger people, maybe inadequate considering the huge and growing burden of dementia and the prevalence of TBI worldwide", said Jesse Fann, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Prabha Siddarth, a biostatistician at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is the study's first author.More news: Facebook Facial Recognition Class-Action Lawsuit Could Cost Them 'Billions'
The researchers studied 35 people between 45 to 75 years old. In one study, people who sat in front of a TV for more than four hours a day had nearly a 50 percent increased risk of death. This was done using the self-reported International Physical Activity Questionnaire modified for older adults (IPAQ-E). Utilizing a high-resolution MRI scan, the researchers got a comprehensive take a look at the median temporal lobe of each individual and determined relationships amongst this area's density, the individuals' exercise levels and their sitting habits, inning accordance with the research study.
The researchers found that sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of thinning of the medial temporal lobe and that physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods. They would also like to explore the role gender, weight and race play in the effect on brain health to sitting, according to the statement. In addition, the researchers focused on the hours spent sitting, but did not ask participants if they took breaks during this time.
The study was supported by grants from various funders including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the McLoughlin Cognitive Health Gift Fund.