Sitting down for too long is bad for the brain

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Live Science reports that prolonged sedentary life may eventually lead to medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTL), which is part of the brain responsible for memory. As jobs have shifted from manual work to office work, the workforce sitting in front of computer is at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and higher blood pressure.

Sitting really isn't good for you and the more we find out about it, the worse it seems.With the recent standing desk trend, that's pretty much common knowledge, but a new study suggests that sitting too much could even impact your memory - going well beyond numerous cardiovascular effects we suspected, and directly affecting important parts of the brain.

"Thus, the finding that more sedentary time is associated with less thickness in MTL is clinically relevant", the authors wrote, adding that this behavior may be "a possible target for interventions created to improve brain health" for adults who were middle-aged and older adults. This means that the longer a person sits at a stretch, the worse the effects could be.

Sitting too much could raise the risk of memory related chronic ailments like Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to a freshly published by researchers at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

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Prabha Siddarth, a biostatistician at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is the study's first author.

The researchers then invited the participants to spend between 3 and 15 hours a day in the sitting position. Ranging between 45 and 75 years of age, the participants answered questions about their levels of physical activity and how much time they spent sitting over the previous week. Researchers also discovered that even physical activity at high levels was insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for long hours. Medial temporal lobe (MTL) is a brain region which controls memories.

The conclusions for this study are pretty striking, but it's also worth noting that we're pretty early in the medical research for this. Previous research studies have linked long sitting hours to a number of health conditions, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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.

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