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Er...Why Am I Here?

Tarun recently bought this coaster because it resonates with the state of our daily lives.

Why on earth does forgetfulness strike us as we get older?!

This friend has a name - age associated memory impairment - and an acronym, AAMI. We have the fewest neurons at birth, and then by age 20 our brain fills out like a tree in the height of summer. After that, the degradation begins a little at a time until it is noticeable at age 50. Forgetting names, details of events, or where you put things become commonplace. These by-products of ageing are very different from beta-amyloid deposits, neural tangles and plaques which are the root causes underlying dementia and Alzheimer. We shouldn't even jokingly confuse the hassles of normal ageing with these soul-crushing diseases.

Fortunately, AAMI has added a comedic element to our lives...

Right about when I turned 50, I couldn't find the laundry detergent that I knew I had bought a few hours before, remembered bringing into the house, and then couldn't locate it anywhere...until....the next morning...when I opened the retrieve milk... the detergent stared back from the top shelf of the fridge!

More recently, I've looked for my eye glasses while they have sat atop my head. And frantically looked for my phone while talking to my mother on it!!

I used to pride myself for remembering phone numbers and I relentlessly teased Tarun for forgetting names. I never thought I'd join him on his journey and here we are now...the deaf leading the blind.

As we get older it takes longer to remember and recall information. The brain is a giant muscle after all and it loses tone as we age - that's my lay explanation. But if you give yourself enough time, you are able to remember, right? Therein lies the difference between "normal" and "problem". The hippocampus, the chip that drives our memory, deteriorates with age. Add to this the fact that hormones and proteins that bolster brain cells start to decrease right when you need them the most. As if that weren't enough, with advancing age, the blood flow to the brain decreases, ugh! These are the reasons for forgetfulness. Cognitive diseases have different pathology and I hope to stave them off for decades.

As long as my brain allows me to continue doing what I know how to do, I know I will always find the laundry detergent no matter where I stick it!! Even if looking for it means staring into cupboards and closets, holding my breath and wondering, "Why am I here?!"

I should make this coaster to go along with the one Tarun bought and hope that I will live long enough for this to be true.

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