Just as sharp as ever

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Many of you, no doubt, have read about the recent scientific study conducted by a Harvard neuroscientist (so you know it has to be true), that explains why so many of us over the age of 60 have trouble remembering things.

The scientist explains that older people have so much information stored in their brain from years of experience and learning that it takes more time to process an answer to a question than it does for younger people, who don’t have as much knowledge. As an example, he explains an older person, who may have known 30 women named Mary during his lifetime, would take much longer to recall the last name of a specific Mary than a younger person, who may have known only five Marys.

The researcher refers to all of this stored information as “brain clutter” and explains how the process of older brains, having to sort through so much information, only makes them seem a tad confused and slower because they are combing through a plethora of data, while younger brains have so much less material to sift through. In most cases, it’s not dementia but rather our internal computer, taking the time to filter a mountain of previously learned material.

I am so relieved. 

For the last few years, I’ve had the ever-increasing problem of remembering people’s names, places I’ve been, and words that describe what I’m trying to convey. Until this study was published a few weeks ago, I was convinced that the dreaded affliction of old age had arrived at my home and had set up camp for the duration. Now, I finally have the proof to back up what I’ve been trying to tell my wife and sons for the past couple of decades: I have so much knowledge, locked away in my huge cranium, that I have to distill billions of bytes of details, directions and documents before I can answer even the most basic of questions. What has appeared to be confusion is, in fact, my brain working to perfection.

Just the other day, I asked my wife to hand me the tool… that pinches the wire, and she asked, “You mean the pliers?”

The next day, I asked my youngest son if he wanted to go… to the city with the big arch, and he asked, “You talking about St. Louis?”

As per Harvard, my brain is working to perfection. I will admit, though, they both seem a tad confused.

Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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