Proof: Alzheimer’s Crashes
She was not a spring chicken, her head hung low as she waited in line until it was her turn to ask a question.
Tell me, she said, can Speed Learning help me control my symptoms of Alzheimer’s?
Look, I said, we have both anecdotal evidence (she said, he said), and a 15-year research project by Dr. David Snowden at the University of Kentucky with a nursing home for Nuns age eighty and above. However, our pro forma answer is Speed Learning is for students and executives who need to 3x their reading speed and 2x their long-term memory. We have senior citizens who are graduates but we never mention Alzheimer’s.
She seemed to sink lower and finally said; I still want to take the course because it might do me some good and I used to love reading.
Learning Slows Physical Progression of pf Alzheimer’s Disease
The headline on January 24, 2007 published by the Journal of Neuroscience about learning slowing Alzheimer’s grabbed my attention. The research was done by neuroscientists Frank LaFeria and Dr. James McGaughm at the University of California at Irvine. These are top-guns in their profession.
What the gist of it?
The elderly, by keeping their minds alert, vertical and seeking, can help delay the onset of this scary degenerative form of dementia. Since 1959 this is the first report to make this claim from a major university neurological team.
It seems that using your brain for (cognitive learning) stops clumping and plaque formation; both disconnect neuron-to-neuron feedback causing mental instability and loss of memory.
Remember the term tangles, which do what it sounds like in the brain when Alzheimer’s raises its head. Studying and using your brain (use it or lose it) defeats (overcomes) tangles.
By the way, it is a scientific fact highly educated people (Master’s and up) are less likely (up to 40%) to develop Alzheimer’s in the first place. Schooling is one firewall, another is playing chess, card and board games and acting as a teacher in an area of your expertise.
Research is clear that cognitive decline is drastically reduced when mice are trained compared to the control which are not. Do not laugh; we have more in common genetically with mice than any creature except chimps.
Stimulating the mind with activities such as reading books or completing puzzles may help delay and/or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s in senior citizens, according to the specialists at U of C at Urvine.
The scientists were surprised that a mild level of learning reduced the pathology and cognitive decline in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.
How Much Learning is Required?
Dr. Edward Lorenz (MIT), credited with the Butterfly Effect, said Small changes lead to Massive reactions. He wrote: Predictability: Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?
These studies raise the question whether doubling up on the learning sessions will produce bigger and better benefits for Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Presently 4.5 million U. S. adults suffer the effects of Alzheimer’s. Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer?
Did you know up to 51 percent of senior citizens suffer from Alzheimer’s by age 80? It is no longer a novelty for adults to live into their 80s and 90s and by 2,050 it is estimated over 20 million U. S. citizens will have the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
We believe in preventative medicine to avoid many forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s. Picture a firewall around you cerebral cortex (left and right hemispheres) from studying and learning on a regular basis.
Many of us exercise our bodies to maintain our senses and motor structures; we suggest devoting some of this effort to protecting your brain from mental atrophy.
Twelve hours in a Speed Learning workshop exercises attention and concentration. It improves reading speed by a factor of three, and doubles your working memory.
The old lady who asked us about Speed Learning to avoid Alzheimer’s graduated with honors; six years later her Alzheimer’s symptoms have stabilized and even subsided. We cannot say it was because of Speed Learning but it did not hurt to activate her cognitive skills. Two months after she completed the program she referred an adult to us for training with only one eye. Yes really.
copyright © 2007 H. Bernard Wechsler
Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Baron's; partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of Speed Reading, graduating 2 million including the White House staffs of four U. S. Presidents.
Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine for major articles.