Binge watching shows bad for the brain study says--what about binge reading?

By Matt De Reno

Binge-watching episodes of your favorite shows does no favors for your brain, writes Robert Preidt for the HealthDay Reporter. I wonder then if binge reading is equally as bad?

First, consider the article. It quotes Dr. Randall Wright, a neurologist at Houston Methodist in Texas, "It's important to recognize that the brain is not an isolated organ -- it responds to its environment," Dr. Wright stated. "When we binge-watch, we create an unhealthy environment for the brain because we're sitting for long periods of time, isolating ourselves from social activities and eating large amounts of unhealthy food."

Wright likens the instant gratification of watching episode after episode of a show to wanting to continue gambling even after you win. But, if you are going to binge watch shows, he believes you can do more to make binge watching your shows as healthy as possible. He suggests watching your shows with a friend. Have healthy snacks. Exercise during the show.

That is all great, but what if you happen to like binge booking? Can reading be equally as a bad? To me it sounds like reading would be good for the brain, no matter how much you do, but what do I know?

Not much. So I googled the topic and found an interesting article posted by Brett Michael Orr on his writing website.

One of binge-reading’s greatest benefits is the connection you form with the characters, writes Orr. When you’re waiting a year or more for the next installment in a series, it’s easy to forget characters and their motivations, Orr writes, so there are advantages to binging a completed series at once. According to Orr, Reading books consecutively, you can form a deeper personal bond with the character; but it’s not without its dangers namely that you can spot all the books flaws. Maybe there are things in the first book if you would have forgot about if you would have read the second book a year later. To me, woe to the author on that point.

An article on the Morning News website not so much condemned binge reading as it raised the question if sites like Google and Wikipedia were making us more stupid from information overload.

Way back in 2008, Nicholas Carr, The Morning News article references an article appearing in the Atlantic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”—and article that became famous enough to merit its own Wikipedia page.

Carr argues that the abundance of information that the internet provides is diminishing our abilities to actually comprehend what we read. He writes,“My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

In the end, I can see binge-watching TV being bad for you, but if you throw a stone at that habit, wouldn’t you suffer the same consequences from binge-reading? Or, binge gaming for that matter?

I suggest that if you have never binge read anything and you would like to, you should start with my Midas Protocol series. Of course you have to wait until they are all published, but if one day in the future you do binge read them all at once, let me know what you think. Oh, and please go easy on the details.

Matt De Reno is author of the unpublished Midas Protocol Series. You can reach him at matt.dereno@scratchwriting.com.