Tuesday, March 6, 2012

us old folks dance to a different rhythm

admittedly, i'm watching my body to see what's going to give out first. with my grandfather it was hearing, though he lived to a few days shy of a hundred in otherwise vigorous health. for my mother eyesight, she'd measles at five and kept reading under the covers with a flashlight. for my father his heart, collapsing at fifty-three from high strains like war and divorce. i just hope it's not my feet, walking my main physical pleasure.

okay, the research comes tumbling in from mri's, brain waves, reevaluations. for example, i've just watched two long lecture series from the great courses dot com. why anybody would enjoy sitting in from of a talking head for so long, i don't know. in school, where i had no control, they bored me. as i can pick and choose my attitude has changed. on memory by a professor from toronto canada taught me i'm still too afraid to look at Alzheimer's, i skipped those talks. otherwise, i kept on course to find out startling new findings.

sounds like i'm going to sell you something, doesn't it? every pill company advertises a cure for your man- or womanhood! however this has nothing to do with a medical miracle. rather, a new study. supposedly our memory collapses as we grow older. hurray, no true. motor memory continues though the body itself may malfunction. and semantic memory where experiences have turned into words remains quite high. ah, but you ask, short-term memory, what about where i put my keys? 

well, at six in the morning you can probably can find them, at two in the afternoon it's questionable. you see, our body (circadian) rhythms change. turns out former memory tests done on the aging in the afternoon by younger people. the former had to bow to the latter. then, a researcher got suspicious and started testing the ancient and the inexperienced early in the morning. voila! the parents defeated the children. that's why you like to go to bed at nine and get up at six, and your offspring sleep til noon and get lively at midnight. we truly live in different worlds. and if you want to win at chess with your sixteen year old overachiever, challenge her before breakfast and you'll win, hands down.

alas, self-discipline doesn't drop away. exercise renews the brain, slimming down prolongs life - have you ever seen a fat hundred year-old person? never, never, never. and being a slug in front of the tv probably won't keep you sharp at ninety-five. raise that dopamine, it stimulates the desire to learn, to find out, to research, to keep going. and dancers make better moves. 

here's a video: