[ExI] alzheimers and attitudes about the future

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Nov 11 20:19:25 UTC 2012

On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM, spike wrote:
> OK we know that if an Alzheimer’s patient exercises the hell outta their
> brains, and works against it, there seems to be some positive effect.  Of
> course it is difficult to quantify, so the best source of info is to talk to
> the people who work at the AD facility.  If you have not already accepted my
> challenge to visit one, and you do now, ask them about that please.  The
> brain exercise seems to be waaay more effective than the paltry and
> apparently useless medications we have.

I doubt that brain exercises have much effect once the disease kicks
in. There is some evidence that brain exercise can delay the onset to
some extent, but then the disease progresses faster once deterioration
starts. For example, people with brain challenging careers tend to be
older when they get Alzheimers.

People caring for Alzheimers patients snatch at any slight indications
of improvement. I know, I've been through it myself. Alzheimer
patients vary so much day to day, moment to moment, that it is easy to
convince yourself that there are signs of improvement. But false hopes
are torture.

> So then, what if pondering the future is a good mind exercise?  I think it
> is.  I work like all hell at it, doing the MBrain calcs and such, pondering
> the long term equilibrium future of thought, for instance.  So we now have
> the transhumanist movement in general that has been around for over thirty
> years, and then Extropian subset of that for over 20, so we should have some
> data on what happens to people as they get really old.  Does a transhumanist
> attitude help delay onset of Alzheimers?  Anyone know if any of our ranks
> developed AD?  If so, what was their attitude towards futurism?  We have had
> several deaths from causes other than AD, but I know of none who developed
> AD.  Perhaps we should ask the question again in twenty years?  What I am
> looking for is if an ExI or H+ attitude lost enthusiasm for futurism and
> dynamic optimism and BESTDOITSO after developing Alzheimers.

There are some people with Alzheimers that I would consider futurists.
Terry Pratchett diagnosed at 59
Gerry Anderson diagnosed at 81

I doubt if just reading SF or chatting about the future is much help.
As above, if you have a trade that exercises you mentally every day,
then there is some indication that the onset can be postponed. But,
there is also the suggestion that a well exercised brain can cover up
and cope with the initial symptoms. This means that when the disease
takes over the collapse appears to be more rapid because the patient
goes straight into full Alzheimers.

Sorry to be so depressing. But it is a terrible disease.


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