After examining the data collected from three tests, Hoang and Dr. Kristine Yaffe, the professor at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and co-researcher of the study, discovered that volunteers who watched a lot of the TV, and were involved in less physical activity had scored a poor in all the three tests.
The practice of watching television a lot and doing no physical activity for long time span may impair your brain, warns a new study, carried out by researchers at the Northern California Institute for Research and Education.
Researchers also did not study participants’ cognitive function at the beginning of the study, in order to have a baseline for a comparison.
Scientists assessed cognitive function in the 25th year using three tests of mental processing speed, executive function and verbal memory.
In addition, the 107 people in the study who both exercised the least and watched more than 3 hours of TV per day were twice as likely to perform poorly on the cognitive tests, compared with those who spent little time watching TV but exercised more.
The results suggest it’s never too early for adults to start thinking about ways to stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia that are usually associated with old age, the study authors wrote.
The study has been published online by JAMA Psychiatry. These TV addicts were 64% more likely than the others to have poor cognitive performance based on the results of a test that measured processing speed and executive function. This was true even after the researchers accounted for factors such as age, gender, educational level and body mass index.
The researchers acknowledge some limitations to their study, mainly because TV watching and physical activity, was self-reported through questionnaires.
Young adults who watched a lot of TV but did little exercise were found to have noticeably worse cognitive function 25 years later. At the start of the study, and again every two to five years later, the researchers asked the participants if, and how much, they exercised.
The odds of poor cognitive performance in midlife were also nearly two times higher for young adults with both high TV viewing and low physical activity patterns than for those with low TV viewing and high physical activity patterns.
Surprisingly, the verbal memory of this volunteer seemed to be unaffected.
The findings are worth keeping in mind the next time you’re tempted to ditch boot camp and grab the remote instead.
How much TV you watch as a young adult may affect midlife cognitive function