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Press Release

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Title
Hours of driving and watching TV lower IQ scores
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Press release date25/07/2017
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Summary
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.
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Press release

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.


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Contact information:
Contact information
Rachael Dowling
0116 258 4971
rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

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Press release number
6411
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