Television increases the risk of dementia

As we know, a sedentary lifestyle promotes and accelerates the onset of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. So imagine what it does to your brain to anesthetize it in front of the television, without moving. Researchers at the University of Arizona have asked themselves whether television and the computer have the same impact. The latter relied on data from 146,000 individuals over the age of 60, over twelve years on average. The latter were asked if they watched little, moderate or a lot of television, how often and if they used a computer, in addition to their level of physical activity.

3,507 people developed dementia, a syndrome that is defined by deterioration in memory, reasoning, behavior and the ability to carry out daily activities. Not all of these syndromes are normal with aging. According to the researchers, the risk of onset of dementia increases by 28% among the greatest television consumers. Among computer enthusiasts, the probability of dementia falls by 30% in the third of the most assiduous users. “Our results suggest that dementia risk is not associated with time spent sitting per se, but with the nature or context of sedentary activity.”

Brain capital

Computer and television do not induce the same cerebral stimulation”, specifies Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital and director of the Alzheimer Foundation, with Le Figaro. On a computer, we most often have activities that require active intellectual participation. In front of the television, we are passive. “When we advise the public to limit screen time, it is not a question of banning them all, but rather of seeing what is done with it”.

“Human beings reach the maximum of their cerebral development around the age of 20. His brain then has between 80 and 100 billion neurons, and this number will hardly vary for the rest of his life. On the other hand, the connections between these neurons can evolve and renew themselves to meet new needs: this is called cerebral plasticity,” explains the professor. “It is for this reason that the brain must be stimulated. Anything that takes us out of our comfort zone is good for the brain. This is why I sometimes advise elderly patients to take up computer tools, because for them this will require a virtuous learning effort,” he concludes.

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