More on the Poison of Television, the Plug in Drug By Mrs Vera West
The lead article in this week’s On Target is by Arnie and Beata Luks on television as the opiate of the masses, and that is certainly true. In fact, I found this article which indicates that the metaphor is perhaps even more appropriate than the dynamic duo thought:
“People over-50 who watch more than three-and-a-half hours of television a day are more at risk of memory loss, research suggests. A study of more than 3,600 older adults revealed watching too many soaps, documentaries or reality shows reduces their ability to recall words by up to ten per cent. Overindulging in your favourite shows could trigger a 'cognitive stress' that leads to memory loss, the researchers claim. It may also take away from activities that keep older people sharp, such as reading or playing educational games online. The research was carried by University College London and led by Dr Daisy Fancourt, senior research associate in the department of behavioural science and health. 'There has been interest for over a decade in the effect of television viewing behaviours on cognition, but much of this literature has concentrated on children,' Dr Fancourt said. 'Much less attention has been paid to the effects of television viewing at the other end of the lifespan, despite it being hypothesised for over 25 years that watching excessive television could contribute to the development of dementia.'
To uncover how TV affects older people, the researchers analysed 3,662 adults aged 50 or over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The adults were asked in 2008-to-2009 and again in 2014-to-2015 how much television they watch every day. They also took part in a series of word-related memory tests. Results - published in the journal Scientific Reports - revealed those who watched more than 3.5 hours of television a day experienced an average 'verbal memory' decline of between eight and ten per cent over the six years. This is compared to a 4-to-5 per cent decline among those who watched less TV. The findings remained true ever after adjusting for factors such as exercise, and the time spent sitting or online.”
So, television watching can be quite harmful for people over 50, and I wonder if the same results will also apply across the board to all age groups? If so, television is indeed a health hazard.