This true account of the Canadian athlete Olga Kotelko is taken from Pang’s book “Rest.” Olga won hundreds of senior track and field events before her death at 94. Her regimen had a dramatic effect on her brain’s structure. Compared to other people her age, Kotelko’s brain had greater white matter integrity (this correlates with increased capacity for reasoning, self-control, and planning). Along with her levels of fractional anisotropy (a measure of brain connectivity), and her healthier brain helped he perform better on cognition and memory tests. She grew up on a farm and spent a career as a teacher. What makes her so remarkable is that she didn’t start competing until late in life: she started training at 77.
Posts Tagged ‘REST’
That is the book “Rest” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang that was reviewed in the immediately preceding post. Remember that the major points of this book were that there is a limit of about four hours for effective mental work, and that non work time needs to be spent in restorative activities. Previous healthy memory blog posts have mentioned that when I was I elementary school in the 1950s I was told that by now time at work would have been drastically reduced due to technology. Technology has advanced beyond our wildest dreams. And back in the 50s it was highly unusual for mothers to work. Yet today, everyone is working many more hours than in the 50s.
So what happened? Moreover, there is genuine concern about all the jobs that will be lost due to technology.
It seems that the solution to this problem is to recalibrate using guidance from Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Cut the standard work week to 20 hours and use remaining time to recreate and engage in restorative activities.
This should not only solve a dangerous unemployment problem, but it should also result in an increase in the quality of work.
© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
The March 19 Washington Post published an article written by Angela Zimm, “Fetal brain protein reactivates in old age, may fight dementia.” The research was conducted by scientists at Harvard University and published in the journal Nature. It reported that a protein called REST is depleted in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. It was found at a level three times as high in people who did not experience dementia even when their brains had indications of the disease. According to Yanker, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, “There’s a long-standing puzzle in neurology why a large percentage of the aging population when they die have enough abnormalities in the brain to classify as Alzheimer’s, though they don’t develop the dementia.”
This is a rarely publicized fact about Alzheimer’s, that there are many people who do not exhibit the symptoms of dementia even though their brains at autopsy are found to have the so-called tell tale neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. These are the only signs that allow a conclusive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s . So it appears that these tangles and plaques might be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for Alzheimer’s disease. Most research on Alzheimer’s has been on attacking the tangles and plaques.
The only explanation that has been offered is that the people with the tangles and plaques, but not Alzheimer’s have built up a cognitive reserve to fend off this disease. Indeed, this is one of the exhortations of the healthymemory blog, to build up a cognitive reserve/. However, what has been lacking to this point is an explanation as to how this cognitive reserve is built up. The process of epigenesis is one possible mechanism for the release and maintenance of the REST protein. Possible mechanisms for building a cognitive reserve can be found in the healthymemory blog, “What is Neuroplasticity and How Does it Work”, and include, in addition to epigenesis, synaptogenesis, myleinogenesis, and neurogenesis. The healthymemory blog post, “Supporting Neuroplasticity” lists some specific practices that could aid in building a cognitive reserve.
© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.