Study Warns That 'Netflix And Chill' May Eventually Rot Your Brain

Dec 07, 2015 08:30 AM EST | By Maria Leonila Masculino

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Watching TV may help you de-stress, learn new things and keep up with the latest happenings, but a new study warns thst binge-watching may eventually rot your brain.

Yahoo Health reports on a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry that says too much screen time in your 20s is linked to cognitive decline for the next 25 years.

For the study, involving 3,257 people from age 18 to 30, the participants were asked to answer questions regarding their TV and exercise behaviours on regular check-ins for 25 years. After the 25-year survey, scientists assessed the participants' cognitive functions through tests that measured their processing speed, verbal memory and executive function.

Results show that 10% of people who watched TV for three hours or more were more likely to get poor scores, same goes with those who did the least amount of exercise (less than 2.5 hours per week). In fact, those who have shown huge cognitive declines were heavy TV viewers who didn't do much physical activity or not at all.

"Our study suggests that ... that we need to start thinking more about how our screen behaviors might affect cognitive function," said study's lead author Tina Hoang, MSPH.

The researchers noted, however, that those who watched TV for long hours and engage in regular exercise were able to show good cognitive performance.

According to Hoang, watching too much TV is linked to unhealthy behaviours that affect our cognitive abilities such as poor diet and sedentary lifestyles --- which could also lead to various cardiovascular risks.

While this study explains the link between binge-watching TV and poor cognitive performance, a neurologist at California's Providence Saint John's Health Center, Clifford Segil, who's not involved in the study, says smart people watch a lot of TV, too.

"It makes sense that you might not be an intense jock if you watch a lot of TV but you might be a smart nerd," he said.

"Shows that have plot twists make you focus and engage you mentally," he added. "That stimulates conversation with friends, which can also be beneficial."

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