MY SAY: It’s not Alzheimer’s, our brains just can’t keep up
IS IT just me or does everyone think they might be going mad?
This week I left the office, for a meeting, only to turn around five minutes later to get a document I needed from my desk.
When I got back to work the document wasn't on my desk. That's because I had it in my brief- case the whole time.
When I finally arrived at the meeting, late, I had forgotten my reading glasses and my computer.
Twice a week I go to the car without getting my keys off the hook. But apparently I'm fine.
And it's not my fault. Experts say it's because I'm middle aged, busy and overloaded by technology.
My mum is 75 and she wakes up most mornings and says something like: "It's your cousin Cait's birthday today."
Her memory is extraordinary. She can tell me when we last went to a restaurant, what weekend it rained enough to fill the tanks as well as name the children of most B-grade celebrities in Australia.
My memory has never been like that. And for a few years I have secret- ly worried about early onset Alzheimer's.
It turns out I'm not alone in my paranoid hypochondria. Doctors all over Australia are dealing with what they call the "worried well".
People like me who think turning circles in the supermarket or forgetting who is home for dinner tonight means they are losing it.
People like me who are clogging up the GP's office for no good reason.
It turns out our brains are not expanding as fast as information technology and when they get too full, they simply shed information deemed non-essential.
I read this week about the island of Ikaria in Greece.
This little paradise is home to the longest-living people in the world.
And they've caught the attention of scientists because not only do they live to be more than 100, the good folk of Ikaria appear to be healthy, mentally fit, sexually satisfied, and heart disease and cancer are rare.
Dementia and Alzheimer's are unheard of on Ikaria.
Their secret is simplicity.
The modern world hasn't made it to Ikaria. So everyone grows their own food, physically labouring into old age. No one takes holidays, watches TV or sits for hours on the computer.
It turns out progress is no friend to the brain.
But for the moment, we're okay.
My doctor described it to me like this. He said: "If you can't remember what you had for dinner last night, you're okay. If you can't remember you ate lunch two hours ago, and keep asking when lunch is coming, come back and see me."
Simple as that. The real warning signs of Alzheimer's disease are about functionality.
When we forget how the phone works, where the milk is kept or where we live, it's time to talk to the experts.
In the meantime, I'd like to send a message to my brain.
When you're deciding what information is essential and what needs to be culled, just a tip, I do need my glasses and my computer. All the time.
Keys would be handy too.
Thanks in advance.