Thoughts on Memory

I prepared for a warm, rainy morning on Saturday.  I dressed lightly with a raincoat and a hat with a visor to keep the rain off my face.  I was ready a few minutes early so I loaded up all of the recycling and struggled with the door lock as my arms were full and took the elevator to the ground floor to drop it off in the garbage room..  I went outdoors and looked for the timing of next streetcar on my phone.  It was close and I was pleased that I’d likely be a bit early arriving at the cemetery.  I got on and sat down, well-spaced away from other people and read the news on my phone.  I got up to get off at the intersection where I catch the subway north and that’s when I realized I WAS NOT WEARING A MASK!  And I didn’t have one with me.

Horrified, I apologized to all the people on the streetcar as I got off.  I felt like I was in one of those dreams where you find yourself at a party in your underwear.  I sent a message to the other walkers that I needed to walk home and get a mask and thus, would miss our walk.  All the way home I asked myself, “How could this happen?”  At 73, I am always looking for signs that my mind is failing.  I decided this was one.

But serendipitously the CBC show, “Quirks and Quarks” ran 2 segments that pertained to my concerns. Dr. Scott Small, author of  Forgetting: The Benefits of Not Remembering, explained why forgetting is necessary for brain health.  And for an aging brain,  research on mice using fecal transplants from young to old mice reversed age-related inflammation in the body and the brains of older mice, and changed the chemistry of their brain’s hippocampus — the region involved in learning and memory — to resemble that of younger mice. The transplant also led to improvements in the older mice’s memory, learning and anxiety levels, all of which are affected negatively with age.   There is hope!

And in the meantime, I’ve relocated my masks closer to the door.

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