Physical Activity, Television Exposure Affects Cognition

High levels of TV viewing and low levels of activity were associated with poor cognitive performance.

Low levels of physical activity coupled with high levels of television viewing in young adults is associated with poor performance on cognitive testing in midlife, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Physical activity has previously been shown to be beneficial for cognitive function, while sedentary behavior has been linked to dementia and cognitive impairment.

Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology and Biostatsitics at the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues sought to understand the associations between levels of physicial activity and television viewing with cognitive function later in life.

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The researchers conducted a prospective study of 3,247 participants aged 18 to 30 years who were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Over a 25 year period, they repeatedly assessed physical activity and television viewing. Cognitive function was assessed at year 25 with the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Stroop test, and Digit Symbol Substitution test (DSST).