Dementia; The Irrational Fear of

Dementia; The Irrational Fear of

Brain Scans Being Ignored

Why does the medical establishment promote Colonoscopy and Prostate Testing while ignoring Brain Scans? Especially when incidences of Dementia, rival and often exceed, the incidences of these other afflictions?  When you consider that a Brain Scan is less invasive then a Colonoscopy, it doesn’t make sense.

Why We Are Afraid

The reason everyone shies away from Brain scans is based on three dis-empowering beliefs. The first is a hold over from the old Cartesian Mind-Body Dualism Theory, that the Mind is not of the Body. The other belief, that’s still very prevalent is that nothing can be done, if a problem where to be found. Lastly most of us have an irrational fear and would be devastated if a brain scan found even mild brain damage, thinking it a harbinger of Dementia and even Alzheimer’s Disease.

Promote Brain Health

Medicine has long refuted the Cartesian Theory having proved that the Mind is of the Brain and thus of the Body. And with regards to not being able to do anything, recent and rapid advances in pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways of both protecting and healing the Brain have been developed. The idea that nothing can be done is both dangerous and false. Eliminating these ideas would go along way in reducing the fear people have.

It’s an Irrational Fear

Even more dis-empowering then the belief systems just mentioned, is the neurotic fear, Boomers have of Dementia. Most aging Boomers either deny the possibility that anything could be wrong or just accept as inevitable, that the brain gets weaker with age, often refusing to even consider a scan, until it’s to late. And who can blame them, when they are constantly bombarded, with the Media’s preoccupation with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

Change the Belief

The false belief that our Brains and thus our Minds become weaker or slower as we age must be changed. The idea that decreased Brain function is not only probable but inevitable is wrong. These dis-empowering beliefs need to be replaced with more empowering and accurate beliefs. While it’s true that our Brain changes as we age, there is mounting evidence that it gets better not worse.

Cognitive Expertise

In Elkhonon Goldberg’s books “The Wisdom Paradox” and “The Executive Brain” he talks about “cognitive expertise”. He holds that as we age, we may lose some power in memory and sustained concentration, but that we gain expertise and competence in our ability to see patterns, in seemingly unrelated events. He refers to  “cognitive templates”, that once formed, are easily able to recognize new cognitive challenges, and easily assimilate them into current situations. We often refer to this ability as pattern recognition. And according to Goldberg, this is nothing to sneer about.

Better Neural Capacity

He says as we age our brains slowly transition from a “hardwired” format to a more  “open minded” format. This opens our neural capacity to better process complexities of all types and to find context. This ability to “see through things” is seemingly effortless and depending upon the context it’s recognized by observers as competence, expertise and in rare instances wisdom.

It’s Not Automatic

This ability doesn’t come as an epiphany of maturity or as an entitlement for living a long time, but rather as the result of mental activities across years and decades of life. Goldberg believes empathically, as many others do, that the real protection against the effects of aging, is to always be in forward motion, to always be challenging the intellect with new goals and new learning. We should use what Maxwell Maltz called our “automatic success mechanism” to imagine and create goals to attain. No matter what age, we must wage an unending war on stasis. As Goldberg so succinctly stated, “a life to settled is no longer a life, but an afterlife”. He believes that the scope and quality of a persons mental lifetime, will shape the quality of it’s final stages.

The Reading Crisis

Socrates said “wisdom begins in wonder”. It’s a crisis when studies show, 28% of people over fifty haven’t read a book in the past year, or that this same percentage have never been to a public library. What’s even more concerning is that the same study, stated that 33% of high school graduates, never read another book for the rest of their lives. But the most shocking finding is that 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.

The Importance of Reading

The fact that 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year, and that 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. Doesn’t say much about our desire to improve our mental quality. This is especially disconcerting when research shows that reading not only helps maintain fluid intelligence, but comprehension and emotional intelligence as well.

The Learning Failure

Another disturbing statistic comes from the On-Line Learning Industry, an industry that has grown from 107 billion to 255 billion in just the last two years. It’s estimated that the completion rate for on-line courses is 15%. In my blog “The Future of Learning”, I wrote how traditional Colleges and Universities are failing.   But with a 85% dropout rate, are traditional on-line courses doing any better?

Transformation not Information

In this information overload age, Boomers don’t want more information, what they are looking for is transformation. The ability to get from point A to point B, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Far to many Boomers, have allowed themselves to fall into intellectual stasis. They are either to impatient to learn new skills, using the current available means or feel it’s to late to contribute.

Show Me Don’t Teach Me.

Thankfully we are seeing a new form of Learning emerge. Entrepreneurial on-line courses created and designed by Entrepreneurs willing and able to teach what they do, not what they learned, and to show you step by step how they do it. Using a social media template, they are also able to create a vibrant on-line community interested and supportive of each others success. Technology has cut out the middle man, allowing entrepreneurs to show, not teach, what they have done to be successful.

Transform your Dream into Reality

The power to challenge the effects of aging with new learning has never been greater. As we change the paradigms of learning, both on-line and off-line, real transformation becomes possible, especially for Boomers. What once took years to learn now takes months. Instances of dementia will decrease as more Boomers transform their dreams into reality.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

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