January 10, 2014
Watching too much television can change the structure of a child's brain in a damaging way, according to a new study.
Researchers found that the more time a child spent viewing TV, the more profound the brain alterations appeared to be.
The Japanese study looked at 276 children aged between five and 18, who watched between zero and four hours TV per day, with the average being about two hours.
Too much TV can change the structure of a child's brain in a way which can lead to lower verbal intelligence
MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex - the area at the front of the frontal lobe.
But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai.
They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently.