Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that spending all day in your desk chair caused to change a thinning of the medial temporal lobe, a brain structure that is a key to learning and memory.
35 people ages 45 to 75 were recruited for the study.
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The researchers then invited the participants to spend between 3 and 15 hours a day in the sitting position. This was done using the self-reported International Physical Activity Questionnaire modified for older adults (IPAQ-E).
They answered questions about their physical activity levels and the average number of hours per day they spent sitting over the previous week. The authors conclude that further studies are needed to understand the relationships between physical inactivity, physical activity, brain transformations and Alzheimer's disease. Also, it does not prove that too much sitting causes thinner brain structures, but instead that more hours spent sitting has a connection with thinner brain regions. With the help of the MRI scans, the researchers could closely observe the medial temporal lobe (MTL), an area of the brain critical for memory formation. To puts it simply, the research study recommends that "inactive habits is a substantial predictor of thinning of the [median temporal lobe] which exercise, even at high levels, is inadequate to balance out the damaging impacts of sitting for extended durations", the scientists stated in the declaration.
Health experts have earlier suggested people with long hours of office job, should take breaks in between. They would also like to explore the role gender, weight and race play in the effect on brain health to sitting, according to the statement.
The study was supported by grants from various funders including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the McLoughlin Cognitive Health Gift Fund.