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Can leisure time activities impact dementia risk?

How many of us come home after a day at the office and turn on the TV or surf the web? It turns out the leisurely activities we choose could have an impact on the risk of all-cause dementia.

Sedentary behaviors, like watching TV or using a computer, are known to be associated with cardiometabolic disease and mortality; however, a recent study looking at over 140,000 individuals over 60 years of age sought to investigate an association with dementia risk.

This study found time spent watching TV, a cognitively passive behaviour, was associated with an increased risk of incident all-cause dementia (HR:1.24; 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.32); whereas time spent using a computer, a cognitively active behaviour, decreased the risk of incident dementia (HR:0.85; 95% CI: 0.81 to 0.90). This association remained regardless of the individual’s physical activity levels.

These results suggest it is not the sitting component of sedentary behaviours that impacts dementia, but the level of cognitive engagement. These findings certainly have us re-thinking how we spend our sedentary leisure time!



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