Vernacular

I’m not a doctor but I have opinions that may be proved wrong in the near future.

Daniel J. Levitin is a neuroscientist who wrote a piece in the New York Times that challenges what most of us think.

The headline over his article sums up his opinion: “Everyone Knows Memory Fails as You Age. But Everyone Is Wrong.”

Place me in the “everyone” sector. Now that I’ve turned 94, I think I’m a non-licensed expert on memory loss, if I can remember what I’ve experienced.

Dr. Levitin wrote that he’s 62 years old. He confessed that “like many of my friends, I forget names that I used to be able to conjure up effortlessly. When packing for a trip I walk to the hall closet and by the time I get there, I don’t remember

what I came for.”

He wrote “In the absence of brain disease, even the oldest older adults show little or no cognitive or memory decline beyond age 85 and 90, as shown in a 2018 study. Memory impairment is not inevitable.”

“Some aspects of memory actually get better as we age. First there is a generalized cognitive slowing with age — but given a little more time, older adults perform just fine. (My timeline is day after tomorrow). Second, older adults have to search through more memories than do younger adults to find the fact or piece of information they’re looking for. Your brain becomes crowded with memories and information.”

His conclusion: “When I find them (new things to memorize), I remember for months and years, because they are new. And experiencing new things is the best way to keep the mind young, pliable and growing — into our 80s, 90s and beyond.”

In a column in our newspaper, W. Clifford Jones M.D. wrote that John Yudkin, Professor of Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College of London, made headlines in 1972 when he published “Pure White and Deadly,” after his research convinced him it was not fat that caused heart attacks, but sugar.

Over the past year, I’ve been waiting for a 5:30 a.m. phone call announcing that I have won the Nobel Prize for labeling sugar as the prime cause of Restless Leg Syndrome. In 2019, I changed to a sugar-free diet and found that the RLS torture, that forced me into exercise because of the muscle creep, could be avoided by zeroing sugar out of my daily intake. I eat many small sugar-free

candies, instead.

As the momentum of time has whisked me through the years, I discovered that I can’t stand immobile for more than 10 minutes but am able to walk for 30 minutes.

Judi Ketteler asked in a NY Times article “why do I find it so much less painful to run for an hour than stand for an hour?”

She explained that “standing is a part of the fabric of the (summer) season, from waiting in line at amusement parks to standing in the security checkpoint queue

at the airport.”

Dr. Diane Koshimune, a podiatrist, pointed out that most people’s tendency is to assume a “relaxed” stance, with the arch of the foot collapsed and your foot rolled in slightly. She advises “engaging the leg and foot muscles while standing and, without picking up your feet, rotating your kneecaps outward slightly, which will cause the arches

to lift slightly.”

Hope these tips improve the rest of your life.

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