Tuesday, April 11

Watching TV is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Does watching less TV reduce your risk of dementia? Keep reading to find out.

How long do you usually watch TV? According to one study, half of American adults watch two to three hours of television daily, with some people watching as much as eight hours. Is it good or bad to spend time watching TV? Let's examine some of the information related to your chances of developing dementia and cognitive decline.

Physical activity enhances mental acuity more than sitting all day.
First off, you have less time for physical activity the more time you spend sitting and watching television. Participating in enough physical activity lowers your risk of dementia and cognitive decline. It should come as no surprise that if you spend a lot of time sitting and engaging in other sedentary activities, you run a higher risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia than someone who does not spend as much time sitting.

Is watching TV actually detrimental to your brain?
It's preferable to work out than watch television.
However, is watching television still bad for you if you exercise regularly? The initial research indicating that watching television is still detrimental to your brain was released in 2005. After taking into account the year of birth, gender, income, and level of education, the researchers found that the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease went up by 1.3 times for every additional hour of TV watching in middle age. Additionally, engaging in social and intellectually stimulating activities lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Less than 500 people participated in this study, but its conclusions have never been disagreed with. But how well would these findings apply to a larger sample of people?

TV watching and cognitive deterioration
In 2018, the UK Biobank study started following roughly 500,000 people who were 37 to 73 years old when they were first enrolled between 2006 and 2010. The reported demographic data was somewhat scant: 88% of the sample were classified as white, 11% as other, and 54% were female.

The researchers looked at the baseline results of the participants on a number of cognitive tests.

upcoming memory (remembering to do an errand on your way home)
spatial memory for images (remembering a route that you took)
adaptable intelligence (important for problem solving)

short-term memory for numbers (keeping track of numbers in your head).Many participants retook some tests five years later. The range of participants evaluated for each test was 12,091 to 114,373, depending on the test. The study's findings were clear. First, across all cognitive tests, watching more television at baseline was associated with poorer cognitive function.

Also, every test of cognitive ability showed that watching TV was linked to a drop in cognitive ability five years later.This kind of research can only infer that watching television contributes to cognitive decline.

Furthermore, the kind of sedentary activity selected was important. Driving and watching television were both associated with poorer cognitive function. However, using a computer was linked to better cognitive function at baseline and a lower risk of cognitive decline over the course of the five-year study.

TV watching and dementia
Researchers looked at the same UK Biobank sample in 2022 with a different question in mind: Would time spent watching television versus time spent on a computer result in different long-term risks of developing dementia?

146,651 UK Biobank participants aged 60 and older were included in their analyses. None of them had dementia at the time the study began.

Over the course of 12 years, dementia was diagnosed in an average of 3,507 people (2.4%).Importantly, after accounting for participant physical activity,

The risk of dementia was increased by watching television.
The risk of dementia decreased with computer use.
There were significant changes in risk. More than four hours of television per day made viewers 24% more likely to develop dementia. More than one hour a day of interactive computer use (as opposed to passive streaming) reduced the risk of dementia by 15%.

These studies can only identify connections between behaviour and results. There is always a chance that cause and effect are reversed. To put it another way, it's possible that individuals who were beginning to experience dementia started to watch television more and use computers less. The only way to be certain would be to assign participants at random to watch a certain amount of television each day while maintaining a constant level of exercise. It's unlikely that the study will take place.

In summary
Stop watching TV if you watch more than an hour a day and instead engage in activities that are known to be good for your brain. Think about working out, using a computer, doing crossword puzzles, dancing, listening to music, hanging out with friends, and doing other things that will keep your mind sharp.
Watching TV is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.


  1. A super interesting post.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anonymous4/11/2023

    Yess totally agree...we got to spend time doing things that we most enjoy like going out for a walk or hanging out with friends.


  3. Such an interesting study. I know someone personally who suffers from dementia:(

  4. Bardzo ciekawy post.
    Ja nie mam TV, więc nie oglądam. Wieczorem włączamy film na Netflixie.

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