Hours of driving and watching TV lower IQ scores

Posted by ap507 at Jul 25, 2017 10:49 AM |
New research led by University of Leicester

Issued by Leicester's Hospitals on 25 July

Researchers from Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester have found that driving for more than two hours a day appears to steadily reduce intelligence.

The study by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre - a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester -investigated how sedentary behaviour affects brainpower.  It found IQ scores fell faster in middle-aged Britons who drove long distances every day.

Those who drove more than two to three hours a day typically had lower brainpower at the start of the study, which kept on declining throughout and at a faster rate than those who did little or no driving.

Kishan Bakrania, a PhD student in Epidemiology in the University’s Department of Health Sciences, said: “We know that regularly driving for more than two to three hours a day is bad for your heart.

“This research suggests it is bad for your brain, too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours.”

The researchers analysed the lifestyles of more than 500,000 Britons aged between 37 and 73 over five years, during which they took intelligence and memory tests.

The 93,000 people who drove more than two to three hours a day typically had lower brainpower at the start of the study, which kept on declining throughout, at a faster rate than those who did little or no driving. 

A similar result was also found for those watching TV for more than three hours a day, who also had lower average brainpower at the start of the study and which fell faster over the next five years. However, this wasn’t the case for people who used a computer for two to three hours per day, which suggests that computer use has a stimulating effect on the brain.

“Cognitive decline is measurable over five years because it can happen fast in middle-aged and older people. This is associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking and bad diet — and now with time spent driving,” Mr Bakrania told the paper.

The manuscript was accepted by the American Journal of Epidemiology on 13 July.

Ends

For more information:

Rachael Dowling

Research Communications Manager

NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre

E: Rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

The NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The NIHR Leicester BRC undertakes translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical need. These include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and lifestyle, obesity and physical activity. There is also a cross-cutting theme for precision medicine. The BRC harnesses the power of experimental science to explore and develop ways to help prevent and treat chronic disease. It brings together 70 highly skilled researchers, 30 of which are at the forefront of clinical services delivery. By having scientists working closely with clinicians, the BRC can deliver research that is relevant to patients and the professionals who treat them.

NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research,

Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

  • Funds high quality research to improve health
  • Trains and supports health researchers
  • Provides world-class research facilities
  • Works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • Involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk

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