Study: Watching TV too often increases the risk of dementia

Study: Watching TV too often increases the risk of dementia

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Is there TV-related dementia?

A study has shown that long, daily television leads to a reduction in verbal memory in older people. According to scientists, this may reveal a new clinical picture: TV-related dementia.

Long television makes you sick

Those who sit in front of the TV for a long time every day endanger their health. Recently, American scientists reported that sitting in front of the TV for a long time increases the risk of colon cancer. And Dutch researchers found that this increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, lingering in front of the flicker box for hours is often associated with complaints such as back pain. But that's not all. A new study showed that daily, multi-hour television leads to a reduction in verbal memory in older people. A new clinical picture may appear here: TV-related dementia.

When information cannot be processed adequately

Does television make you stupid? In a way, you could summarize the results of a current study, wrote the German Society for Neurology (DGN) in a message.

Because mostly people are described as stupid who are not able to process information adequately.

They are told something - for example: "turn right!" - but they are unable to understand and implement what has been said and then make a wrong turn or continue straight ahead.

As the experts explain, this is not a question of the intelligence quotient, but can mean that the linguistic memory is weak.

If the people had given the directions as a sketch to these people, the information would probably have reached them.

But verbally conveyed content does not "reach" those affected to a sufficient extent. This applies to the announcement at the station that the train is departing from another track, as well as the verbal invitation from a friend.

If you consider how much the modern world depends on verbal information, it becomes clear that people with a weak verbal memory quickly remain disoriented.

Verbal memory is therefore extremely important in order to find your way in today's information society.

Clearing verbal memory

A study from Great Britain published in the journal "Nature Scientific Reports" now showed that high TV consumption of more than 3.5 hours a day leads to a reduction in verbal memory among those over 50 years of age.

A total of 3,590 study participants were observed who were over 50 years old at the start of the study (the average age was 67 years) and had no dementia.

After six years, the subjects were examined for their cognitive abilities and asked about their television times.

This showed a “dose-dependent” effect: the more TV a participant watched, the more the verbal memory had reduced compared to the initial value.

The critical threshold was therefore 3.5 hours of television consumption per day, less had no effect.

Cognitive decline

According to the DGN, this result also persisted and remained statistically significant after certain influencing factors such as demographic variables (gender, age, relationship status, social status, professional life / pension) and health data (presence of depression or vascular diseases, tobacco and alcohol consumption) were eliminated were.

The scientists also corrected the findings against sitting, i.e. the lack of movement of people who watch a lot of television - and even then the result remained robust.

The degradation of verbal memory cannot be explained with too little movement alone.

There have been studies in the past that showed that a lot of television is associated with cognitive decline, but other sedentary leisure activities such as the Internet do not surf.

Researchers had explained this with the high stimulus and the rapid change of sensory perceptions (seeing and hearing) and the simultaneous passivity of the viewers, which is inherent in watching TV.

However, only verbal memory was affected by TV consumption-related degradation, not the so-called semantic fluency, which is also greatly reduced in Alzheimer's patients, for example.

"Various studies had suggested that a lot of TV could promote the risk of developing Alzheimer's," said Prof. Peter Berlit, General Secretary of the DGN.

“But Alzheimer's patients also have cognitive deficits beyond verbal memory loss. Nevertheless, these study results are unsettling, since a completely separate disease entity, TV-related dementia, may develop, ”said the DGN expert.

Average TV consumption over three hours

The average German TV consumption is already over three hours.

The present study also showed that people who are no longer in professional life watch more TV.

Furthermore, female gender, low level of education, low social status and social isolation (living alone) were associated with increased television consumption.

“Older people in particular should refrain from watching too much television in order to stay mentally fit for a long time,” says Berlit. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Fine Tuning Bredesens Protocol by Deborah Gordon MD (July 2022).


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