Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Researchers link sedentary behavior to thinning in brain region critical for memory

Researchers link sedentary behavior to thinning in brain region critical for memory

Furthermore, it's such thinning of brain features that become more prominent in people who suffer from dementia, the Los Angeles Times added.

The study authors concluded that rather than sitting at the desk for long stretch, moving around and reducing sedentary behaviour may be a possible target for interventions created to improve brain health in people.

Perhaps most shocking was that, according to the researchers, "physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods".

United States researchers have published preliminary studies that show that sitting down for too long can reduce the thickness of the medial temporal lobe, a brain structure that is very involved in memory. After the researchers made adjustments to take the participants' ages into account, it was discovered that each additional hour spent sitting resulted in a 2 percent decrease in medial temporal lobe thickness.

All the participants had a brain scan that specifically looked at the area of the brain called the medial temporal lobe. Regardless of the level of physical activity, long-term sitting is closely related to the thinning of the media temporal lobe. The subjects were asked questions about their levels of physical activity and underwent MRI tests to determine the thickness of their medial temporal lobe, a brain feature considered integral to learning and memory. The participants said they spent from 3 to 7 hours in a chair per day, on average. With every hour of sitting every day, there was an observed reduction in brain density, inning accordance with the research study. Reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions created to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease, researchers said. Previously, studies have linked the thinning of brain structures with cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.

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

Prolonged sitting is often associated with physical health problems like heart disease and metabolic disorders.

In the future, researchers are aiming to find out whether sitting actually causes brain thinning and what role gender, race and weight might play in brain health in relation to sitting.

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