Last Tuesday night on the spur of the moment, my wife and I attended an open mic at a restaurant-bar on Branson Landing, which is a tourist place about six blocks from our house. Only a couple of other musicians showed up, so we had plenty of time to perform. I accompanied my wife as she sang a variety of songs made famous by Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Adele, as well as "Hopelessly Devoted to You," which she sang twice at the request of members of the audience. The audience was wildly enthusiastic in their applause. The bar manager offered us meals, drinks and a paying gig. The guy running the open mic posted an excerpt on Facebook of her singing Hopelessly Devoted.There are many types of cognitive decline and I've witnessed more than a few of them up close. The unfortunate truth is that doing the NYT crossword or learning an instrument aren't provably going to stave off Alzheimer's* or any other kind of dementia. Latest suggested links (to add to a very long list) are gut disorders and certain viruses.
We are in a golden age of computational chemistry/biology, and the ability uncover therapeutics/causes. I'm optimistic that we'll find a real treatment for Alzheimer's within my lifetime, maybe even Lewy body, but I play guitar because I love it. If you'd rather watch re-runs, watch 'em.
*There is a mountain of evidence that suggests music is one of the last things to leave an Alzheimer's patient's brain however.
Research reports on a pathway that begins in the gut and ends with a potent pro-inflammatory toxin in brain cells contributing to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). They also report a potentially simple way to prevent it.www.sciencedaily.com
Common viruses may be triggering the onset of Alzheimer's disease: Shingles infection may activate dormant neurological herpes viruses, causing inflammation and accumulation of Alzheimer's associated proteins in the brainTwo common viruses lie dormant in neurons -- herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella zoster virus (VZV). Lab models of the human brain show that activation or re-infection of VZV can trigger neuroinflammation and wake up HSV, leading to accumulation of Alzheimer's linked proteins and neural...www.sciencedaily.com
The next day my wife had only a vague memory of having performed. We ran into a friend Saturday evening who complimented her, having seen the Facebook video of her singing. My wife said that she had no idea what the friend was referring to. This is what the profound memory loss of Alzheimer's can be like. Her consciousness restarts every five minutes.
My wife has taken care of herself physically and mentally all her life. She ate healthy foods, exercised, was socially engaged, well-educated, read a lot of history books, was a teacher and freelance journalist and editor, and played music. She has and had no vices. The happy talk about prevention of Alzheimer's is primarily generalized speculation based on the general health benefits of healthy living.