Alzheimer’s

Last night we had a Peg night in downtown Asdee.

It started in great joy.

Though swallows had arrived in the locality and we had seen them none had returned to our shed. The first pair arrived yesterday after their flight from South Africa and started building right away. The cold northerly winds had delayed them. And the cuckoo is back too.Discussion centred around Jay Ingram’s new book, “The End of Memory, a Natural History of Aging and Alzheimer’s”. Dr. Phil had read it and reminded us all that Alzheimer’s has overladen heart disease and cancer as the great medical anxiety of the modern world. 10% of people over 60 and 50% over 85 will suffer some form of it. Men are less at risk according to Sheila, who from reading the book has discovered that giving up smoking does help.

(This cuckoo was spotted last Saturday by our local bird watcher on top of a post on the old Kenmare road)

Kathleen told us of a study done on the brains of 678 nuns, who were dead of course, in America. The plaques and entanglements found in the brains of Alzheimer’s were there but none of the nuns showed symptoms of the disease. For example, Sr Mary, who died at 101 remained smart and alert with memories intact up until the end. The disciplined life of continual human interaction of the nuns it is thought meant the brain remained agile and could find new pathways to get round the build up of plaque. It was decided by the women present that they should all become nuns!

Mary White, who bought the book in Heaphy’s in Bally, observed that none of her hens ever get it, neither do the swallows or cuckoo. Eileen had sympathy for the man who discovered the disease in 1906, Aloysius Alzheimer . ‘Imagine having a disease called after you after all your good work?’ Anyway we concluded that we are all living too old. Since 1840, life expectancy has increased at the rate of one year in every four.

Aging and caring are a problem we concluded.

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