Too Much Sitting May Affect Your Memory
Science & Tech / /
It may be time to get rid of the desk chair: A new study links memory problems in older adults and middle-age people with sitting too much every day.
According to researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles their recent study was focused on sitting’s impacts on the brain. What they found was that long term sedentary behavior—like spending all day in your desk chair—was linked to brain thinning that cause changes in medial temporal lobe--a part of the brain critical for formation of new memory. This occurrence can be a precursor to dementia and cognitive decline in middle-age and older adults.
The study was based on 35 people between the ages of 45 and 75. They were first asked about their physical activity levels and the average time they’d spend sitting every day over the last week.
Then, the researchers scanned the participants' brains, and they got a detailed look at the medial temporal lobe of each participant. That allowed them to identify the relationships between this region's thickness, the participants' physical activity and their sitting behavior.
The final results showed that sitting for longer period of time was closely associated with thinning in the medial temporal lobe, and was not dependent on physical activity level. In other words, the results suggests 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."
The participants reported that they spent on average from 3 to 7 hours sitting per day. With every hour of sitting each day, there was noticeable decrease in brain thickness. The researchers also said that "reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions designed to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease."
Although the results point out the possible negative effects that long term sitting may cause, it is important to note that the findings are preliminary. The study focused on long-term sitting, but it didn't take into consideration the possible breaks during the sedentary behavior, which is a limitation of the study. Another was that the research also didn’t take into consideration other factors that may have influence in the effect on brain health to sitting, such as the role gender, weight and race, which is expected to be subject of further research, according to the researchers statement.
source: live science