To Beat Alzheimer’s Beef Up Your Brain

by Kerry Cue

I’m trying to remember the name of a pioneering neuroscientist. ALOIS … What’s his name? You know. ALOIS  … Alzheimer. Alois Alzheimer first observed the  amyloid  plaques in the brain of an otherwise healthy patient in 1906. ALOIS. I think it’s a start if I can remember that name.

The article BANKING AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S written by Professor David Bennet, director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, was published in  The Scientific American last year. I was expecting to find news of an  imminent  cure, but I  was  sadly disappointed. According to Prof Bennet, who is in charge of  100  scientists working on the project, ‘drug development for treating Alzheimer’s has been slow and marked  mostly by  disappointment.’

Moreover, ’as researchers continue to untangle the intricate web of disease mechanisms, it makes sense to focus on preventing Alzheimer’s in the  first place—to apply what we know about strengthening our brain to withstand the hits that come with aging.’ And  here  is the  big  news.  Subjects  who  faired  better  regarding  Alzheimer’s had  more  neurons, that is heavier brains. So beef up that brain of yours for successful aging.

Dali’s surreal paintings inadvertantly capture the disjointed memory of Alzheimer’s.I added the cloud border to push the imagery even further back into the memory.

11 ways to stave off Alzheimer’s*:

1. Pick your parents well! Then you’ll get good genes, a good education and avoid emotional neglect.

2. Keep physically and mentally active.

3. Be social.

4. Do new things.

5. Relax. Be happy.

6. Avoid negative types including family members.

7. Work hard.

8. Set goals. Find a purpose in life.

9. Healthy heart, healthy mind. Diet and exercise matter.

10. Eat that green leafy stuff and other vegetables.

11. Be lucky!

*As suggested by Professor Bennet according to current reseach.

Erica Jong: Fear of Landing

 

by Renata Singer

Quote Erica Jong

Erica Jong has made it a trifecta.

There was Fear of Flying in 1973. Remember the zipless fuck, a phrase that liberated many young women from the idea that sex had to be tied to a meaningful RELATIONSHIP. Everyone I knew read Fear of Flying.   It was well written, laugh out loud funny and HOT. What’s not to like?

Sibylesque Strong Wind

Fear of Fifty, a memoir, came out in 1994. I didn’t read it because of the lukewarm reviews and not being that interested in Erica Jong’s life. I remember interviews where Jong talked about turning 50 and no longer “feeling a babe” and how men’s eyes didn’t swivel her way any more when she entered the room. The mean-spirited Renata thought, “well darls, join the club.”

Hot off the press is Jong’s Fear of Dying – a novel about an aging actress – she’s 60 – Vanessa Wonderman, with dying parents, a husband who can’t get an erection and a daughter about to have her first baby. Vanessa goes to the website zipless.com looking for sexual partners.

In an interview with Linda Wertheimer on NPR, Jong says she wanted to write about sex and old age. “I thought it was essential to do it, because sex follows us throughout our lives. The need for touch, the need for connection, that never goes away. But the forms of it change. As people age, touch is more important, erections are less important. And I think somebody needs to write about that.”

Jong has not lost her sense of mission and that’s a good thing. But what’s the next title going to be: Fear of Purgatory?

……………………………………………………………………………………. Renata SingerRenata Singer is a writer, community activist and educator who divides her time between Melbourne and New York. She co-founded Fitted for Work after working with Bottomless Closet in New York. Among Renata’s publications are The Front of the Family, True Stories from the Land of Divorce and Goodbye and Hello. Her most recent book “Older and Bolder” is reviewed on this blog here.

Photo Source: pinterest, MUP Website.

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Views of Depression: Inside and Outside

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque  Joseph Campbell

Anyone over 60 or, more likely, 50 knows loss and grief that can also slump into depression. We cannot duck the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’ But for some, the shadows of depression appear to fall over them at birth.

I ran into a friend yesterday outside the supermarket. In his late sixties, he has suffered depression on and off from childhood. Meanwhile, Robin William’s tragic suicide was dominating all news bulletins. My friend recalled when, walking past the CBS studios in New York last year, he and his wife put their names into the lottery to be in the Late Night with David Letterman audience. They won seats. And who was on the show? Robin Williams. We shook our heads dumbfounded, yet again, by the inexplicable tragedy of life.

There is an inside and an outside view of depression.

Sibylesque sadThe outside view witnessed by a friend or family member, perhaps, can be quite cynical. The depressed person, bereft of all vitality, appears monotone, unresponsive and self-obsessed. Yet this is depression’s – sometimes unyielding – punishment. It winds the walls in on the depressed person until there is no way to connect to the outside world. Yet the pain persists.

In 1998 David Foster Wallace published a Harper’s Bizarre piece called, simply, ‘The Depressed Person’. It follows a depressed woman’s growing self-absorption. Such a bitter outside portrayal of obsessive melancholia seems all the more tragic as Wallace, a highly celebrated author, committed suicide from depression in 2008 at the age of 46.

The inside view of depression is chilling. ‘The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality’. So began the TED talk Depression, the secret we share by long-time depression sufferer and author Andrew Solomon. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently published one of the most brutal, raw and painfully honest portrayals of depression I have read. A Journey Through Darkness by Daphne Merkin (New York Times, 6 MAY 2011)

sadgirl onwoodMerkin, 60, an American literary critic, essayist and novelist, has suffered, sometimes untreatable, depression on and off since her childhood.In some way, the quiet terror of severe depression never entirely passes once you’ve experienced it. It hovers behind the scenes, placated temporarily by medication and renewed energy, waiting to slither back in, unnoticed by others … It tugs at you, keeping you from ever being fully at ease. Worst of all, it honors no season and respects no calendar; it arrives precisely when it feels like it.‘ Both Solomon’s and Merkin’s stories have – if not exactly happy, at least – liveable endings.

Merkin, who had suicidal thoughts and whose long-term Freudian analyst started pushing ECT (Electro Compulsive Therapy) wrote ‘And then, the Sunday afternoon … something shifted ever so slightly in my mind’. And later ‘Everything felt fragile and freshly come upon, but for now, at least, my depression had stepped back, giving me room to move forward’.

Memory is vital to the depressed person’s recovery. If they can recall being happy once, the possibility echoes in the coal-black gloom of their thoughts that one-day they can return to that bright yet unfathomable place. Some depressives  struggle to hold onto even one happy thought as if the lines are down in the power network of the brain. Other depressives believe that because their life has been changed by, say, a divorce, they cannot find their way back to that happy state. These are the machinations of the mind therapists address. Nevertheless, one happy thought remembered can deliver Pandora’s gift. Hope.

Sibylesque Melancholia

Depression Resources:

Beyond Blue Australia: Crisis helpline, facts, forums and resources

Health Talk Online: Experiences of depression and recovery in Australia

Healthtalk online UK: Experiences of depression and recovery UK

Youth Health Talk UK: Young Peoples’ depression and low mood

Healthtalk online UK: Experiences of Antidepressants

MAYO Clinic USA: Depression causes, complications and symptoms

MAYO Clinic: Depression Medication

MAYO Clinic USA: Minimising Sexual Dysfunction Side effects of anti-depressants

Black Dog Institute Australia: Education Resource

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The Diet Riot

Navy Roman Border

Navy quote 1My Diet Plan: Make all my friends cup cakes.Navy quote 2

The fatter they get, the thinner I look.

ff………….Coffee Mug

Navy Sibyl signature

Navy Roman Border

This is the latest diet … it’s so mathematical, but so out of proportion.

Sibylesque gas mask ballet

Photo source: moviesinbw blog.

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