A Beautiful Mind
There are days when I wish so badly that I could understand so much more than I know. Take the human body for example, when everything is working as it should, or as normal for me, I don’t think about it at all. But let something be out of whack, like the excruciating neck pain I had yesterday, then I’m immediately thrown into a tizzy.
Several years ago I had an MRI to determine the cause of lingering neck pain that radiated down my back, shoulder, and right arm. I can’t remember the exact technical terminology of the outcome of the test but my doctor tossed out words like cervical something or other, herniated disc, arthritis, and pinched nerves.
When the doctor called to give me my results I asked her what would be the next steps to which she responded “surgery.” Since surgery wasn’t a logical solution to me I requested physical therapy and several months later the issue seemed to resolve itself.
Although I have flare ups from time to time (just a guess here but probably the arthritis) when I’m feeling pain-free I completely forget about the discomfort. This in my opinion is a miracle in itself because what would the world be like if women remembered the pain of childbirth? I dare say we’d probably be extinct.
All of this leads me to wonder about the inner workings of the human body and more specifically the brain. When I think about it I am in total awe of our CPU (central processing unit) that is our brain and its complex functionality.
Just Being Human
When I was in school I was taught that the human body is made up of 11 elements (99 percent oxygen, carbon,hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus; 0.85 percent of potassium, sulfur,sodium, chlorine, and magnesium). I only know the elements now thanks to Wikipedia. Though I am not a chemist and I understand these elements are necessary for us as humans to live, I doubt that if we were to combine all these components that we’d end up with a human being.
A brain, that triggers all the responses in our bodies to survive is central to our existence. Even with a heartbreakingly severe conditions like Hydranencephaly (a rare condition in which the brain’s cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced by sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid), I am still amazed at how the brain works to keep us alive.
I was 52 when I began having problems with my memory to the point where I now sometimes can’t remember words to string together a sentence, I was worried. My worries have merit because my grandmother had alzheimer’s and my mother has dementia. Because of my family history I took my concerns to my doctor who assured me that my memory loss is normal for my age but beyond this conversation there was no testing done to confirm or calm my fears.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was unstoppable. I could go into any given situation, assess what was working and what wasn’t, then develop a plan of action to correct malfunctions.
These days it’s all I can do to keep focused and do the best I can to get through the day. Social media doesn’t help and only adds to the confusion as all I hear is noise when I crave peace, and clarity.
So when I saw an email with the subject line “Have You Noticed Changes In Your Memory Over The Last Year?” I was intrigued. After opening the email it asked questions about forgetting keys, appointments or even recent conversations. Then it went on to talk about a study on medication that could slow the progression of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I clicked on the “see if you qualify” button and was taken to the APECS Study (β Amyloid Production and Effects on Cognition Study’s) main web page where I could take a short survey for preliminary qualification into the program. This clinical research study is being done worldwide by 230 doctor’s offices who will be following 1,500 patients over an approximately 2 year period.
Yesterday I received a short interview call from the research center closest to where I live (2 hours distance) and now I’m waiting on the paperwork that was mailed out with additional information. I’ve never done anything like this, especially since experimental medication is involved, but if this project will allow me to see if my memory concerns are valid then for me it’s well worth the risks.
If you are experiencing issues with your memory would you want to know if you have early onset Alzheimer’s disease? If so and you and decide to look into the APECS Study let’s chat.
“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” ~William Gibson