Researchers discovered that sitting too much may be linked to memory problems due to changes in a part of the brain. The effect is considered a predecessor for dementia along with other significant signs of cognitive decline. ( Dan Kitwood | Getty Images )
Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles have discovered that sitting too much can cause changes on the part of the brain that is responsible for memory,
This effect is said to be considered a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia, so you might want to start standing up more in your everyday routine.
Too Much Sitting Leads To Memory Loss
According to a new study that was published in the PLOS One journal, sitting too much each day may be linked to memory problems among middle-aged and older adults.
The study, which involved 35 people aged 45 to 75 years old, gathered data from the participants regarding their levels of physical activity as well as the average number of hours sitting each day over a week. The researchers then took a look at the brains of the participants through a high-resolution MRI scan.
The researchers discovered that the subjects who were sitting too much daily, defined as three to seven hours per day, had significant thinning of their medial temporal lobe, the part of the brain where new memories are formed.
The researchers found the same thing among the patients who sat for hours daily but also had time for physical activity. It means that the negative effects of sitting too much could not be offset by exercise.
A thinner MTL is considered a predecessor for dementia along with other significant signs of cognitive decline in middle-aged to older people.
The study, however, does not identify the reason behind the connection between too much sitting and a thinner MTL. The researchers speculate that the sedentary behavior may be increasing inflammation and hurting the ability of the brain to generate new blood vessels and cells.
The next step of the study would be to identify other factors that affect the relationship such as whether there is a difference between “mentally active sitting” and “mentally inactive sitting.”
No To Sitting, Yes To Standing
In addition to memory problems, previous research also found that too much sitting also leads to a higher risk of death. Scientists from the Columbia University Department of Medicine looked at the data of almost 8,000 people who are at least 45 years old, and found that those with the greatest amount of sedentary time, equal to over 13 hours per day, and those who sit for at least 60 to 90 straight minutes, had a nearly two-fold increase in risk of death.
On the other hand, a separate study revealed that replacing six hours of sitting each day with standing may help prevent weight gain and support weight loss.
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