Friday, July 26, 2013

It is dementia and Alzheimer's everywhere I look :(

It surely cannot be a case of we only see what we want to see.  It is not that I am scanning the vast ocean of words only to pick out articles on dementia and Alzheimer's.  Heck, even when I am quietly sitting by the river, a stranger ends up talking with me about the death of her mother who spent her final few months at an Alzheimer's care facility!

Last night, my bedtime reading was the latest issue of the New Yorker.  I had already flipped through the cartoons earlier in the day.  Even that was a bummer--such blah cartoons!

Like a moth attracted to a light, I went after Patricia Marx's essay (sub. reqd.) on this topic, where she notes:
by the advanced age of twenty there is a very good chance that our prefrontal cortex (the brains of the brain, responsible for problem-solving, decision-making, and complex thought) has already begun to shrink. We humans, by the way, are the only animals whose brains are known to atrophy as we grow older, and—yay, us again—we are also sui generis in suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. As distinctions go, this may not be as auspicious as, say, the opposable thumb.
I tell ya, it was such a relief (!) to read late at night that I have been on a downward trend ever since I came to the US.  This is making real my joke that by coming to the US, I simultaneously lowered the IQ in both the countries!

A few days ago, I told a friend that I intentionally go to a new grocery store every once in a while, even if it is only to get the usual stuff.  To create new pathways in the brain.  When driving around town, or to work, I venture off course partly for the same reason--to keep my brain active.  New recipes. New music. New stuff within my liking.  All to make sure that I can at least delay the onset of that disease I dread so much.  Apparently, I am not a lonely worrywart:
A 2011 survey found that baby boomers were more afraid of losing their memory than of death.
Well, technically I am not in the boomer generation!  But, the worry is for real!

We do all these because as of now, we are clueless otherwise.  We have progressed one step though--we have reached an understanding that "Alzheimer's and other dementias" are diseases, "rather than as a consequence of normal aging."  Which is why not every single who gets old has dementia.  All we know is that something happens with the cranial biochemistry.
People with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer's-related protein in their brains.
That is the only good news.  The bad news is that we don't have a clue on what to do about it. Not yet, anyway.

Maybe the New Yorker should go easy on this topic.  I mean, feature such topics not this often, every month!  And that too in the summer, when we expect lfe to be fun, fun, and more fun!


Ramesh said...

What has this beautiful song, that captured many in our generation, have to do with this post ??? The "Bool gaya" was in relation to love and not to your favourite topic.

Have to refocus and give you a harder kick. Perhaps last time was not hard enough :):)

Sriram Khé said...

Muahahaha ;)
Bool gaya, buddy, bool gaya sabh kuch!!! Aur, yaad nahi abhi kuch ... muahahaha

Yes, that was an awesome song from those days ... and, yes, that had nothing to do with dementia ... but, hey, it was fun, wasn't it? took your mind off the whole Alzheimer's thing ... muahahaha ;)

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