The researchers found that a very sedentary lifestyle is a significant predictor of thinning of the MTL — which carries worrisome risks: MTL thinning can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults.
While this study does not prove too much sitting causes thinner brain structures — only that more hours spent sitting are associated with thinner regions — it is food for thought in an era when socioeconomic security makes it possible to escape physical activity, or not have time for it in the first place. And from a public health perspective, the researchers said, their findings suggest that reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions designed to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers next hope to follow a group of people for a longer duration to determine if sitting causes the thinning and what role gender, race, and weight might play in brain health related to sitting. Until then, even short bursts of activity can break up long stretches of sitting, with beneficial results. We’ll see you in two minutes.