I’m interested in human memory. I’m interested in memory because while I sometimes have trouble with my own, I’ve been watching my mother lose hers completely. She was first diagnosed with MCI – mild cognitive impairment about three years ago. It manifest as short term memory loss, which came on quite suddenly after a nasty fall she took about two years previous to onset. At first she had trouble remembering sort of minor things – what she had for breakfast, hair appointments, and so forth. Over the past 18 months, her MCI has become much more severe. Much more.
At first, I read everything I could get my hands on about Alzheimer’s Disease. Not the most uplifting topic, but there you have it. As mom’s situation has progressed and become part of our family’s daily lives, I’ve begun to think more about memory as the faculty that defines us as humans – that we are our memories.
I’m just finishing a book by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell called Your Life, Uploaded. It originally came out in 2009 under the title Total Recall. It’s one of the more interesting books I’ve read in a while. Bell set out to keep a complete electronic record of his life creating what he calls e-memory.He saves, scans, uploads, downloads every aspect of his life. He calls it lifelogging – not to be confused with lifeblogging. (Speaking of blogs, here’s how to get to theirs.) His intent is not to blast his life all over the Web – his intent is to create as complete a record of his life as possible for his private use as he sees fit.
His idea of e-memory has ramifications for education, health, work, and personal life. This is both a idea book and a book that make you want to start building your own e-memory. If I’m destined to lose my bio-memory, I better start creating my e-memory now.
All I will need to do is come back and take another look at the image above whenever a solicitation for a contribution regarding Alzheimer’s research lands in my mailbox.
If you’re interested in the some of the latest thinking about the cause of Alzheimer’s, Laura Sanders has written a good article in Science News called Memories Can’t Wait.
. . . and you just might enjoy a better memory for a longer time. Read more about neurogenesis and changing your brain.
Coffee drinkers may have another reason to pour that extra cup. When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were given caffeine – the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day – their memory impairment was reversed, report University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
The image above shows that caffeine treatment removed the beta amyloid plaques from the brains of the Alzheimer’s mice.
Back-to-back studies published online today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, show caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease. Both studies build upon previous research by the Florida ADRC group showing that caffeine in early adulthood prevented the onset of memory problems in mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms in old age.
After you go get another cup of coffee, you can read the whole story here.