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Alzheimer’s and the Adverse Affect of Television

[25 Oct 2010 | No Comments | | Author: ]
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Alzheimers disease is a degenerative disease that more often affects older adults. The disease causes amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain that eventually destroy brain tissue. This destruction functionally leaves the sufferer with memory loss, loss of cognitive function and physical function.

In recent studies researchers have found a link between people who watch television and those who develop this condition later in life. Researchers have long understood the correlation between exercise for both the mind and body and the preventive measures these have against developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, more recent research has found a correlation between those people who don’t have interests or activities in which they participate but instead watch hours of television throughout their mid-life. In fact, research has also confirmed that those people who are less active in their 20s and 30s, arguably young adults, are also at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer adverse affect of television may not just be in the years when the person is suffering from this neurologically degenerative disease but also in the decades prior to developing symptoms.

Doctors have found that by keeping the brain of the person suffering from Alzheimer’s active it will slow the progression of the disease and enable them to live at home for longer periods of time. It also decreases the depression associated with Alzheimers.

But now doctors have found a link between people who spend hours with their minds in a semi-conscious state, not learning, in front of the television screen and those who also receive less physical exercise and are obese. These are all risk factors that increase the probability of developing this degenerative and ultimately fatal disease.

Researchers have also found that people who spend hours day dreaming have the same effect on their brains. In a study in which researchers scanned the brains of 764 adults in various stages of dementia young and healthy, in the early stages and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s they found that the areas of the brain that are most affected by Alzheimers are the regions that are active when a young person day dreams.

In the end though a more active brain may prevent the development of Alzheimer’s over time but it wont prevent it completely. In a study of 312 patients with Alzheimers at New York’s Columbia University researchers found that although more highly educated people were able to prevent the development of the disease for a greater time once the disease was diagnosed it progressed more quickly in those who had years of college education vs. those who didn’t.

Television viewing is definitely linked with less exercise, junk food and obesity in adults and children. In studies that limited the number of hours watching television they found it also reduced the weight gain suffered by many adults and children. This implied that TV was a partial cause in weight gain.

Weight gain, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, correlates with an increased chance of getting Alzheimers disease. Researchers found that an active brain can more effectively compensate for the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and maintain a more productive life for a longer period of time, even though it wasn’t a preventative method that would totally prevent the disease.

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