Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Sitting for too long may damage brain

Sitting for too long may damage brain

The results from the new study titled, "Sedentary behavior associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults", appear in the latest issue of the journal PLOS One.

Sitting really isn't good for you and the more we find out about it, the worse it seems.With the recent standing desk trend, that's pretty much common knowledge, but a new study suggests that sitting too much could even impact your memory - going well beyond numerous cardiovascular effects we suspected, and directly affecting important parts of the brain. Researchers added that thin medial temporal lobes could be considered as a precursor to cognitive decline. For majority of people in office jobs, long sitting hours has become a norm.

"Reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions created to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease", the scientists said.

Other studies have shown that too much sitting, just like smoking, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature death.

Prabha Siddarth, a biostatistician at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is the study's first author.


For the new study, the researchers recruited 35 participants between the ages of 45 and 75. 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. It could even lead to dementia in middle-aged and older adults. Researchers asked the participants about their physical activity levels and the average number of hours per day they'd spent sitting over the previous week. 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.

Health experts have earlier suggested people with long hours of office job, should take breaks in between.

The next stage of the research will be to follow volunteers for longer than a week to see if the results are consistent and if gender, race or weight comes into play. The participants said they spent from 3 to 7 hours in a chair per day, on average.

The study was supported by grants from various funders including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the McLoughlin Gift Fund for Cognitive Health.

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