Alzheimer’s advice: Heed it or fuhgeddaboudit?
According to NBC News, a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has offered a ray of hope for those who fear developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
A miracle cure remains elusive, but research shows that certain “common sense” practices (including regular exercise, specific memory training strategies and controlling high blood pressure) may substantially delay and soften memory loss.
And… even if the researchers turn out to be embarrassingly overoptimistic, you won’t remember it and will continue cheerfully making donations to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. It’s a classic “Win, Don’t Remember LOSING” situation.
Excuse me. There is nothing at all funny about dementia, but there is certainly humor to be found in how we process this good news about reining in its ravages.
The research paper contains so many oft-repeated bits of advice, I suspect that the nation’s moms talked doctors into shoehorning a lot of extra helpful hints into it. Among the dead giveaways were tips buried in the twelfth paragraph, including “Be sure to wear clean underwear,” “Wash behind your ears again,” “Finish that ‘thank you’ note to great-aunt Elvira right this minute” and “Stop making that face or your memory will freeze like that.”
The looming threat of cognitive impairment (the loss of the ability to think clearly and make decisions) in old age puts the fear of God into some of my acquaintances. (“You mean if I don’t do what the scientists recommend, someday instead of saying, ‘Here, hold my beer and watch this,’ I’ll be saying, ‘Here, hold my whatchamacallit and watch this’? That’s a scary degree of intellectual decline, dude.”)
For those of us with certain carnivorous cravings, it stings to see the perpetual bogeyman “red meat” listed among the things to avoid. It’s an impossible situation. If you ignore the warning and continue scarfing down burgers, you’ll EVENTUALLY FORGET all the good times you had with your backyard grill. If you acquiesce and go the “Eat Mor Chikin” route, you’ll ALWAYS REMEMBER the good times you USED to have with beef.
(If you try to console me with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” I’m going upside your head with this bottle of steak sauce.)
I know I need to work more fruits and vegetables into my diet; but on the other hand, I’ve never seen a clover-munching rabbit that could remember to stay away from our predatory cats. Just saying.
Those of us who enjoy curling up with a good book or partaking of the much-ballyhooed Golden Age of Television hate being guilted into playing “catch up” with the insufferable jokers who are already out there merrily power-walking, aerobicizing and shooting hoops.
(“Hello? You say you fell off the cliff and your femur is sticking out? I downloaded a YouTube video with a fix for that, but I deleted it because I’m conscientiously trying to save more brain cells. I’ll never forget you, Travis.”)
Seriously, investigate the research. It’s terrible to watch your identity fade away. Of course, in 2019’s fluid environment, we see a lot of YOUNG PEOPLE who don’t know who the heck they are. (“I’m Bubba-Bob, the baddest black woman you’ve ever smoked the peace pipe with. Hey, why isn’t this brain-teasing crossword puzzle in my native Babylonian?”)
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com.