> This study does not prove that too much sitting causes thinner brain structures, but instead that more hours spent sitting are associated with thinner regions, researchers said.
This is a bit of a non-story. The article doesn't go into what measures were taken to eliminate confounding factors, and it seems from the way it's worded that not many were taken. Maybe people who have a more sedentary lifestyle also tend to come from a lower social background, thus are more prone to physical and mental diseases. Or maybe people who sit more tend to be more obese, and it's really obesity that's associated here. It doesn't take a genius to think up more possible confounding variables. Also, a cohort of 35 people is tiny.
In my early career I was a car seat engineer which gave me a life long interest in seats. If you look at historical chairs it is amazing how recently the comfortable chair was introduced. I peg it at around 1920, about 30 years after the Morris chair, which was the beginning. Think of the colonial era Windsor chairs. You can imagine great thinkers sitting in them pulled up to their desks creating and thinking. But no way could you sit for the 10-12 hours a day most HN readers do. Go back further to images of classic times. Sitting devices were definitely not capable of being used for extended periods. So yes, it is worth thinking about the impact of comfortable furniture on how much we sit. But later. I am getting up to get a cup of coffee.
Nothing about what people were actually doing while they were sitting? Watching TV? Staring into space? I don't know how to take something like this seriously (after reading this article in its entirety, not the linked paper)
“UCLA researchers recruited 35 people ages 45 to 75 and asked about their physical activity levels and the average number of hours per day they spent sitting over the previous week.“
A "sitting is killing you" article based on a study of 35 people.
Is this going to launch another wave of conflicting articles published every-other-week saying how to minimize it?
"Eat fish 5 times a day while standing!"
"New study: fish 10 times while doing squats!"
"Latest: the fish does nothing! You need a 'weightless desk' in low earth orbit."
This seems to contradict another article posted on HN I read recently, which says memories are lost due to brain cell growth after physical activity!
Which contradicts yet another article which says that growing new brain cells can improve memory:
So which is it? I think we need scientists to take two contradicting studies and try to find out the root cause of a discrepancy, instead of making a third study. To do that, they need to record as much as they can, and a meta-study needs to look at the actual discrepancies that can account for a change.
I don't know if my brain has "thinned" but I do know that after sitting for years coding I started experiencing a pinched nerve in my back, and that ain't no fun.
I thought I was having a stroke the first time it happened about six months ago. I realized it was a pinched nerve after looking into it but it took several months to figure out exactly what stretches I needed to do to relieve and prevent them.
"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."
This is just a preliminary study. It´s too soon to get any conclusions. But, it´s a good starting point for a hypothesis. I will like to see the results of the final study, even that is going to take a long time.
I have seen many times links between sedentary life and illness. But this one looks promising as tries to find a mechanism on why this happens at the brain level that may affect cognition.
And yes, before doing a more expensive study, they asked 35 people for a preliminary study. You don´t spend a lot of money to try to prove something without first trying to disprove it on the cheap. Translation for developers: before spending a lot of time to test something you first do a smoke test. If it passes you invest the time to test it fully. Otherwise, you go back to writing code.
I wonder if this is true for physical inactivity in general? I suspect that using a standing desk instead of sitting down wouldn’t change the situation.
Interesting they do manual segmenting, who's working on image recognition to automate measuring of the various areas - presumably then all past scans [with patient acceptance] could be fed in to a system and the brain regions could be measured and classified.
The correlation graphs are awesome!
Not sure you could get a better randomisation if you tried with just 35 points??!
Perhaps people who are either predisposed toward unhealthy outcomes, or are currently experiencing them (whether they realize it or not) are more sedentary. Correlation does not establish causation.
Time and time again more evidence is propping up stating the benefits of exercise. I think Patio11 summed it up well, roughly stating that as we are all working with the same hardware(the body) then we should work to maintain it in top shape.
If you maintain your body in a weak state, it would seem that your body would have to maximize its output with a lesser performing system. Imagine trying to perform well when you have a heart that’s got 1/4 the performance of a well maintained one.
Imagine the downstream effects of all this!
Maybe people ages 45 through 75 are going through the period of life which we traditionally associate with both a lowering of physical activity and increasing difficulties in memory. Sure would be nice if they linked the study or seriously cared about critiquing it.
The real question should be whether both are also strongly associated with grey hair, number of grandchildren, and taste in film.
Here is the actual paper, for your reference. I'm appalled that ScienceDaily did not link this in their article.
Maybe people with thinning in brain region associate with memory overestimate the amount of time sitting because they can’t recall as accurately what they were doing in between sitting sessions...
Not even 3 months ago it was "standing desk users less focused, less productive". Which might be more about the kind of person a standing desk user is than it's effect.
Yes. And television is bad for your eyes.
I just want a study that tells me the intensity and frequency of exercise that counter-acts the sitting plague.
By now, all sitting studies sound like they're stating the obvious.
what about the dual? moving, either walking, driving or longer always stimulates my brain. To the point that not moving I find myself very silent and believed I had a problem.
That's why I'm laying down.
Conclusion drawn from experiment on 35 samples? Must be kidding...
Anti clickbait tldr: Too much sitting is ASSOCIATED with thinning brain structures.