Dementia: What you do while you sit may affect your risk

  • A new study of sedentary behavior finds that doing mentally passive activities such as watching TV increases the likelihood of developing dementia while using a computer lowers them.
  • The difference between the two is unaffected by how physically active a person is when they are not sitting.
  • Other research suggests physiological reasons for the difference, and some studies find the same effect on depression and cardiovascular risk.

We often hear about the importance of being physically active for our health. Even so, many find themselves sitting for hours during their leisure time. Sedentary behavior (SB) has a way of adding up.

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A new study investigates the effect of SB on the likelihood of developing dementia and finds evidence that not all SB is the same when it comes to cognitive health.

The study finds that being mentally active and engaged while sitting may reduce the chances of developing dementia. Conversely, sitting passively increases this risk.

The study is published in PNAS.

Being mentally active vs. passive

“In the context of dementia, [the study] shows differential associations between two types of SB which might be categorized as mentally passive, TV viewing, and mentally active, computer use,” Dr. Mats Hallgren, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.

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Filed under sedentary lifestyle, TV watching

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