TV May Contribute
To Alzheimer's
CLEVELAND (UPI) - Research by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine indicates adults who keep their minds active between the ages of 40 and 60 are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who turn into couch potatoes.
Robert Friedland, associate professor of neurology, advises those in middle age to keep learning and stay physically active.
Friedland studied 551 people - 193 of them Alzheimer's victims - and found, in a study presented recently at the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd annual meeting, those who had been active outside of work were less likely to develop symptoms. Among the beneficial activities were swimming, golf and board games. The Alzheimer's victims also watched much more television than the healthy group.
"People who were less active were more than three times more likely to have Alzheimer's disease as compared to those who were more active," Friedland said.
Friedland said the brains of those who spend four to six hours a day in front of the television shut down because so many images are fighting for the viewer's attention.
Friedland said the culprit is not television itself but passive activity that has the negative effect on the brain.
It remained unclear, however, whether passivity leads to Alzheimer's or whether it is an early symptom of the disease.
The study, which used questionnaires to gather data, is the first to examine levels of activity five years before the onset of symptoms and builds on earlier studies indicating people with Alzheimer's had been less physically active and had lower levels of educational and occupational achievement that people without the disease.
Friedland noted, however, "it doesn't take a doctorate to ward off Alzheimer's - an intellectually or physically stimulating hobby will also be helpful."
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