Prolonged Sitting Can Diminish Part of Your Brain Responsible For Storing Memories

Sitting for too long may increase dementia risk Study

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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.

The researchers, including Prabha Siddarth from the University of California, Los Angeles in the USA, asked the participants about their physical activity levels and the average number of hours per day they spent sitting over the previous week. MTL thinning is considered to be a precursor dementia and other significant signs of cognitive decline in middle-aged and older people.

Previous studies have found that sedentary behavior is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and increased risk of early death in the elderly.

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For the new study, the researchers recruited 35 participants between the ages of 45 and 75.

All the participants had a brain scan that specifically looked at the area of the brain called the medial temporal lobe. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, this means that a person who sits 15 hours a day on average might have a medial temporal lobe that is 10 percent thinner than someone of the same age who sits down for an average of 10 hours a day.

They used scans to determine the relationship between MTL thickness, physical activity, and sitting behavior. Research team asked study subjects about their normal sitting hours during a day. Surprisingly, it was found in imaging that, in the participants who spent between 3 and 15 hours a day sitting down, the thickness of the medial temporal lobe decreased, potentially exposing them to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

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And although the research study discovered no substantial connections in between exercise levels and density of the median temporal lobe, the scientists stated in the declaration that "decreasing inactive habits might be a possible target for interventions developed to enhance brain health in individuals at danger for Alzheimer's illness".

In addition, thefindings are initial, and although the studyfocused on hours invested sitting, it did not take into account whether individuals took breaks throughout long stretches of inactive habits.

In the future, researchers are aiming to find out whether sitting actually causes brain thinning and what role gender, race and weight might play in brain health in relation to sitting.

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