Memory impairment isn't just affecting the elderly. By 2050, the number of U.S. adults over the age of 40 living with dementia is expected to more than double, from 5.2 million to 10.5 million. To compound matters, there's a new type of dementia plaguing Americans, one that's affecting people much younger than 40. It's called digital dementia, and millions of unsuspecting, young Americans are at risk.
A major health epidemic, digital dementia occurs when one part of the brain is overstimulated and another part of the brain is understimulated. When we mindlessly use digital devices, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher-level executive functions, gets little, if any, use. Meanwhile, the occipital lobe, the visual processor located at the back of the brain, gets bombarded with sensory input. Slouched over and spaced out, people, both young and old, are abusing their brains, day in and day out. Preteens and teens are particularly at risk for two reasons:
An American 8 to 12-year-old spends an average of 4.7 hours a day scrolling their lives away. That's around 70 days in a given year.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC), the brain region responsible for planning and decision-making, doesn't fully develop until the age of 25.