Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scientists Wonder About Possible Connection of High Education And Alzheimer's Disease


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Back when people were either worked to death or died of diseases long before they could reach even middle age, much less, great age, Alzheimers was a very rare condition. Today, it is quite common and many studies have tried to understand how it works and why it happens. We all fear it greatly and for good reason.

From the BBC:
Alzheimer's disease progresses more rapidly in highly educated people, research suggests.
It is thought high levels of education may ward off Alzheimer's by helping the brain better tolerate damaging changes.

But the latest study, involving 312 Alzheimer's patients, suggests once accumulated damage reaches a critical level, decline is relatively swift.
I dropped out of highschool to go the college when 16 but then had to drop out of that when I had my first child, needed to earn hard cash. So maybe I will outwit everyone on "Jeopardy" when I am 100 years old, take that, ya intellectual whippersnappers!

Alas, mere thinking aggravates the condition so I suppose I should stop blogging and stop blabbing and zone out. Time to smoke a lot of pot. Ommmmm.
This holds that highly educated people either have a greater number of nerve connections in their brains, or the nerve connections that they have are more efficient.

Therefore, when the damaging changes associated with Alzheimer's - such as the deposition of toxic protein clumps - start to take place, educated people are better placed to resist their effect at first.

However, the subsequent impact is likely to be greater than it would be in less educated brains, because of the higher levels of accumulated damage.
Maybe it is merely, smart people look a lot stupider when sick with Alzheimers but normally stupid people, it is a moot point? I mean, how much lower can Bush's IQ fall? Can it fall further? And Reagan?

I thought he was a puppet from day one so when the puppet had some difficulties, only a smarty pants like myself could see the obvious?

Alzheimers ravages people I love and hold dear. One of the saddest elements of this disease is, no one wants to have it, so in order to hold it at bay, they pretend nothing is happening and then they are puzzled when everyone looks at them funny. One response I have noticed is, many Alzheimer patients don't want their own families anywhere around them. This is because it is obvious one is doing really poorly whereas, with total strangers, it doesn't matter if one says, "Who are you?" So they have a tendency to seek out strangers for company since this also means, the strangers won't refer to things one can't remember anymore which is why so many Alzheimers patients tend to wander off, not because they forgot where they were going, they actively slip out of the house as silently as possible, to go out where everyone will be friendly in a vague sort of way and when one asks, "What time is it?" they won't say, "I told you ten minutes ago."

The more intelligent the patient was, the more frustrating this brain malfunction is and the harder they struggle and the worse it gets on every level. Geniuses are in very dire straights if they get this disease.

This is one reason why very few elderly are any good for getting information about the deep past. Either they are living as if they are there and are puzzled as to why you inquire about things that are too obvious, or they can't remember any details at all except maybe a sketchy one or two stray memories.

Since all humans deal with unhappy memories by deep sixing them, the brain is very efficient at deprogramming itself and this action has a downside, namely, it erases everything in the end. I know that even stupid, small mistakes irk me no end and embarrass me beyond words, faux pas are full irritants. The littlest mischance can annoy the innermost parts of the memory system and shaking it off is difficult, actually easy for most people.

This sensibility is a gold mine for novelists.

I pour out words in huge volume but my misspellings haunt me. Grammatical errors abound and annoy. Grinding teeth over syntax. The only reason I don't have writer's block is because in the end, I shrug it off. If someone doesn't like me or my babblings, fine. They can go to another place and hang out.

The main thing is, you can't outwit or outthink Alzheimers. You have to live with it, alas. This is one disease I pray they find some solution for aside from locking oneself in an ashram and chanting everyday which is, I assure you, pleasant. Actually.

Hmm. A solution shows itself. You do have to rise before dawn but I am used to that. Ommmm.

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