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!