A health expert has warned some people are more likely to be at risk of developing dementia than others due to their profession. He said some people are up to 60% more at risk
A health expert has warned that some professions could increase the risk of developing dementia by up to 60%.
Brain professor David Raichlen, who specialises in human and evolutionary biology at the University of Southern California, shared the alarming warning on a recent episode of Steven Bartlett’s podcast, Diary of a CEO. Professor Raichlen, whose work includes researching links between exercise and brain health, discussed the impact of long periods of sitting on the brain.
He warned that people who sit for many hours a day, whether due to their lifestyle or job, are at a higher risk of dementia. “If you sit for 10 hours a day compared to nine hours a day, it’s about a 10% increased risk of dementia. If you sit for 12 hours a day, it’s about a 60% increased risk of dementia. It’s a problem that we have to deal with.”
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Jobs that involve sitting down for extended periods can include roles such as receptionists, bus drivers, freelance writers, pilots, train drivers, judges, software engineers, accountants and graphic designers. Other jobs may include dispatchers, data entry workers and heavy vehicle drivers.
Raichlen said: “Over the last few decades we’ve realized that you can generate new neurons, especially in key areas of the brain like the hippocampus – which is associated with memory. That growth of new neurons may be the key to preventing or staving off these neurodegenerative diseases that have this big impact on the aging brain.”
Talking about how we can make new brain cells, the expert shared: “The optimal amount of physical activity is 150 minutes per week, but only 25% of adults in the US meet those guidelines. Older adults only do two to four minutes per day.”
“But there are these small activities that provide big benefits that generate new neurons and those neurons get integrated into key parts of the brain.” He also mentioned that studies suggest being active could help stop our brains from getting older too fast. “Maybe even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.”
It’s been found that sitting too much isn’t great for our brains. A study from September 2023 in JAMA says if you’re not moving much for 10 hours or more a day, you might have a bigger chance of getting dementia later on.
In the study, 50,000 people without dementia wore a wrist accelerometer for a week to track their daily movement. After six years, researchers checked who had been diagnosed with dementia and compared this with the activity readings from the start of the study. They found that those inactive for at least 10 hours a day were more likely to develop dementia than those who moved more.