Study: Elderly daytime TV watchers may score lower on cognitive tests

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Could a preference for talk shows and soap operas be a marker of cognitive decline? A new study suggests as much.

Elderly women aged 70 to 79 who said talk shows and soap operas are their favorite TV programs were more likely to score more poorly on tests of memory, attention and mental quickness than their peers who liked other types of shows, according to researchers at the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

While the findings do not mean that daytime television causes these conditions, they indicate some association between TV choices and intellectual function. Such findings could prove useful in evaluating older people for cognitive decline, according lead investigator Dr. Joshua Fogel.

The study is in the March issue of Southern Medical Journal.