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Thread: It really does rot your brain

  1. #1
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    It really does rot your brain

    Moderate-to-high TV viewing in midlife linked to later cognitive and brain health decline.
    This doesn't bother me, since it takes me six months to get through one box set, but I thought it might be of interest.

    Grant Hutchison
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  2. #2
    In the article they say they might be correlation between TV watching and brain function decline. Also I wonder if they are taking into account the rural vs. urban divide. rural people tend to have move around more to do some of the basic activities plus they tend to more of their own cooking and such which might help their memories and other mental faculties. Also I have heard that living in a primary urban area can effect mental health because of the increase in pollutants in the environment. In the article they did mention playing computer and video games and reading also help keep dementia away. Just pointing out a few issues I have that's all.
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    I'd like to know a bit more about the nature of the TV viewing. I'd guess that an hour of cognitively engaging television (watching in order to learn something, or becoming mentally engaged looking for clues in a mystery, for instance) would be better for the retention of cognitive function than an hour of bored channel surfing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Also I wonder if they are taking into account the rural vs. urban divide. rural people tend to have move around more ...
    Participants’ reported physical activity and exercise habits did not appear to alter the relationship between time spent watching television during midlife and changes in cognitive function and risk of dementia.
    Grant Hutchison
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I'd like to know a bit more about the nature of the TV viewing. I'd guess that an hour of cognitively engaging television (watching in order to learn something, or becoming mentally engaged looking for clues in a mystery, for instance) would be better for the retention of cognitive function than an hour of bored channel surfing.

    Grant Hutchison
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  6. #6
    I wonder if it matters if you just have going in the background while you are doing other things, if podcasts ,make a difference, or it matters if you watching a movie, tv show or youtube clip for work like writing a critic or a debunking.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
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  7. #7
    I wonder what if you could compare it to doing no mental activity at all like staring at a wall for hours an day.
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  8. #8
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    I also wonder a little about the cause-effect relationship? Does cognitive decline result from watching TV, or do people watch more TV because of cognitive decline? Or could there be a common cause, like for example depression?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I also wonder a little about the cause-effect relationship? Does cognitive decline result from watching TV, or do people watch more TV because of cognitive decline?
    Well, these are long-duration longitudinal studies, and they show a temporal relationship, which is one of the tests for studies claiming causation. People who report more TV viewing in mid-life then develop greater cognitive decline over a decade or so (at least one of the studies was doing serial measurements).
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Or could there be a common cause, like for example depression?
    A confounding factor, yes. Under "limitations of the studies", they point out that a large amount of TV viewing might be a proxy for some other behaviour or condition that predisposes to cognitive decline in later life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I also wonder a little about the cause-effect relationship? Does cognitive decline result from watching TV, or do people watch more TV because of cognitive decline? Or could there be a common cause, like for example depression?


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    ^This^

    I can think of all kinds of possible confounding effects. E.g., if you’re watching television, you’re not socialising. Does that cause problems later? I don’t know, but was it controlled for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheManWithNoName View Post
    ^This^

    I can think of all kinds of possible confounding effects. E.g., if you’re watching television, you’re not socialising. Does that cause problems later? I don’t know, but was it controlled for?
    Yes, these longitudinal studies stand or fall depending on how well they deal with potential confounders. It's impossible to tell from the bullet-point summaries of the recent three papers I linked to, but here's an earlier paper from England which is available as full text, and lists the confounders it controls for. Watching a lot of television because you have poor social support? Controlled for that. Because you're depressed? Controlled for that. Because you have no money? Controlled for that. Because you can't or don't exercise? Controlled for that. Drinking a shed-load of alcohol while you watch television all day? Controlled for that.
    It's a curiously robust signal.

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  12. #12
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    i happen to be working on flashing white light into people's faces, where many colours and kaleidoscope effects are perceived. there has been very little academic work in this area although the effect is interesting. One oft cited study used mice. For example:
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...020.00294/full
    here the mice were said to be helped, (they were genetic Dementia mice) by 40 Hz white light flashing. The mice did not report visual illusions but people do.
    Televisions of the old type flicker a lot because of raster technology, modern ones use different technologies with variable persistence. Therefore it would be nice to separate out television screen types.
    An obvious follow up would be to try flicker with no content or random content, vs program content.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It's a curiously robust signal.
    Interesting.

    I guess the next thing is to see which programming rots the brain the most

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheManWithNoName View Post
    I guess the next thing is to see which programming rots the brain the most
    JavaScript.

    I guess on a more serious note that is a key consideration - and whether it is TV generally or screen time. With the move to more and more on demand assets for learning the idea that watching instructional TV (Open University shows if you are old enough and British enough to remember them!) would be worrying. Most online coursees these days are basically watching a very specialised TV channel for a few hours. Does that count?

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