Wednesday, January 1, 2020

#1 / Dealing With Dementia: Walk And Write

Happy New Year to all!

A whole new calendar awaits us, and for those of us who just had a post-Christmas birthday (and even for others, who didn't, but who do approach a New Year with the thought that they are getting older), visions of dementia float through our heads.

Of course, I am exaggerating! How to deal with dementia isn't, actually, the very first thought that came to mind as I woke up on this January 1st. Still, while I can't speak for anyone else, I am almost positive, as John Lennon might have said, that "I am not the only one." I am not the only one who does consider the possibility that dementia is an issue to which I should pay some increasing attention as I get older.

Because certain mental failings and lapses do come to my attention from time to time, I am comforted by the thought that I am not so far gone that I don't even realize that I have a bit of a problem in coming up with the right word, or name, as quickly as I'd like, and as quickly as I used to. Again, however, the idea that age and dementia are related is not a new idea for me. How to deal with it?

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last November titled, "What Science Tells Us About Preventing Dementia." Presuming you can slither past a possible paywall, I recommend the article. Here's a pretty adequate summary:

When it comes to battling dementia, the unfortunate news is this: Medications have proven ineffective at curing or stopping the disease and its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease. But that isn’t the end of the story. According to a recent wave of scientific studies, we have more control over our cognitive health than is commonly known. We just have to take certain steps—ideally, early and often—to live a healthier lifestyle.

In fact, according to a recent report commissioned by the Lancet, a medical journal, around 35% of dementia cases might be prevented if people do things including exercising and engaging in cognitively stimulating activities. “When people ask me how to prevent dementia, they often want a simple answer, such as vitamins, dietary supplements or the latest hyped idea,” says Eric Larson, a physician at Kaiser Permanente in Seattle and one of a group of scientists who helped prepare the report. “I tell them they can take many common-sense actions that promote health throughout life.”

My personal take-away from the article (confirming what I have learned from my own experience), is that Walking and Writing are two important ways to make sure I stay connected with the world. For what it is worth, if you are thinking about those oft-adopted, seldom achieved, "New Year's Resolutions," I would like to suggest walking and writing as two ways to deal with and defeat dementia (and the threat thereof).

For me, because I do take seriously that "writing" part, you can look forward to another 365 days of "We Live In A Political World."

God Willing / Inshallah!

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1 comment:

  1. I rely on "WLIAPW" as much as my daily NYTimes or morning coffee! Looking forward to the next 365 days, Gary!


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