lundi 2 février 2015

F is for... I forget

F is for… I forget

What do chilli, aspirin, pencil case, bubble bath, mud and car have in common? Answer? Absolutely nothing, except those of us of a certain age are expected to memorise them and recite the list – in the correct order – every day. A forgetful day and a trip to the doctor’s is in order as you may be on the rocky road to Alzheimer’s.

It’s a fate most of us fear. I saw a test online the other day and foolishly decided to take it  At the end, I was told “Your Cognitive Function test showed you performed slightly below the norm for your age” and advised me to give a pre-printed letter to my GP that mentions there may be a problem with my plasma homocysteine level. Deciding it’s best to be prepared, I went to Google Translate to find out what plasma homocysteine level is in French. It’s niveau de l'homocystéine plasmatique.

Of course I did badly I wanted to yell at Dr Rona Tutt OBE, author of said letter. It was a timed test; I was using a laptop and it’s not as easy to click on answers quickly as it is with a conventional mouse.  We’ll gloss over the fact that when I went to the site to check something, I forgot my password. I still can’t remember it but am somewhat reluctant to press the “Forgotten? Email me my password icon”.

They say that learning another language helps stave off Alzheimer’s. This is indeed true. Chatting in English, if you forget a word, you babble, “You know, it’s the thingy you find on the whatsit – the what'd’you call it”, which, incidentally my Google Translate friend refers to as the “what'd'you appellant”. In French, you can just plead ignorance and admit you’ve forgotten the word and everyone will sympathise and produce the correct one for you — without the kindly and knowing nods. On this basis, I’ve signed up to do a free course to learn Dutch.

Now, a friend has discovered some research that claims the brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.

Aren’t we clever!

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