A new study shows that sitting in front of a computer for hours can actually reduce the amount of older people in the brain.
Live Science reports that prolonged sedentary life may eventually lead to medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTL), which is part of the brain responsible for memory. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said that,
Sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of thinning of the MTL and that physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods.
Previous studies have found that sedentary behavior is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and increased risk of early death in the elderly.
Researchers studied people between the ages of 35 and 45. They asked participants about their level of physical activity and the average number of hours they had sat in the previous week.
The team then used a high-resolution MRI scan to scan participants’ brains for more detailed information about the media temporal lobe.
They used scans to determine the relationship between MTL thickness, physical activity, and sitting behavior.
Participants stated that they spent an average of 3 to 7 hours a day in chairs. Regardless of the level of physical activity, long-term sitting is closely related to the thinning of the media temporal lobe.
Every hour of sitting every day, the thickness of the brain decreased significantly. Researchers suggest that “reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible goal of interventions aimed at improving the brain health of individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
They plan to investigate people who sit for a long time every day to establish cause-effect relationships.
The study was published in the Public Library of Science.