Does excessive television viewing contribute to the development of dementia?

M. Aronson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The etiology of most kinds of dementia is still obscure and is probably multifactorial. We query whether excessive watching of television may contribute to the development of dementive processes for the following reasons: TV spectators are exposed to a mass of successive and rapid stimuli with little or no possibility of relating to the viewing matter. In addition, a considerable part of the material is stressogenic, and generally there is no opportunity for a subsequent release of tension. Stress, via the glucocorticosteroids which it induces, has been shown to damage neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory processes. Considering that many individuals have by now been watching television for several decades, not infrequently at an average rate of 4 or more hours daily, it is possible that cumulative, stress-derived damage may magnify the risk of a dementive process in such long-term, habitual viewers. Upon clinical intake of cases of suspected dementia, it is suggested that inquiry into the patient's television watching habits be incorporated into the anamnesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-466
Number of pages2
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1993


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