Watching TV is linked to dementia risk while computer can guard against it

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TV is linked to dementia risk as study suggests watching the box can increase your chance of the illness… but computer use can help protect against it

  • Researchers analysed 150,000 people in the UK aged 60+ over 12 years
  • Those who developed dementia watched three hours, 24 minutes of TV a day 
  • While those who did not spent six minutes longer per day on the computer 
  • Data was recorded in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal 

Watching TV increases your risk of dementia – but using a computer can help protect against it, a study suggests.

Researchers analysed 12 years of data on 150,000 people in the UK aged 60 or over.

Those who developed dementia watched three hours, 24 minutes of TV a day. 

Those who did not watched three hours – but spent six minutes longer a day on the computer. 

Watching TV increases your risk of dementia – but using a computer can help protect against it, a study suggests. Picture: file image

Watching TV increases your risk of dementia – but using a computer can help protect against it, a study suggests. Picture: file image 

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, Professor David Raichlen from the University of Southern California said: ‘Compared with less than two hours, four hours of TV was associated with a 20 per cent increased risk of dementia. 

‘Compared with no computer use, one hour was associated with a 25 per cent decrease.’

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors of the study stated: ‘Sedentary behaviours, like watching television or using a computer, take up a large portion of adult leisure time and are linked to increased risk of chronic disease and mortality.

Those who developed dementia watched three hours, 24 minutes of TV a day. Picture: file image

Those who developed dementia watched three hours, 24 minutes of TV a day. Picture: file image 

‘We investigated whether sedentary behaviours are associated with all-cause dementia regardless of physical activity.

‘Our results help clarify associations of sedentary behaviour with brain health and suggest that it is not time spent sitting per se but the type of context… that is associated with dementia risk.

‘Reducing cognitively passive TV watching and increasing more cognitively active sedentary behaviours are promising targets for reducing risk of neurodegenerative disease.’

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