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Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Keep your brain in good shape

  • One of the many treasures in The Examiner is the “Ask Dr. K.” column. His informative column covers a vast array of medical advice and information. A friend of mine, who is in the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease and suffers other maladies, never fails to read his column.

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  • One of the many treasures in The Examiner is the “Ask Dr. K.” column. His informative column covers a vast array of medical advice and information. A friend of mine, who is in the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease and suffers other maladies, never fails to read his column.
    Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that gradually erodes memory and cognitive abilities. While the medical field works laboriously to find a cure, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends mental exercise like games to keep one’s memory sharp. They quote The Franklin Institute that even in old age, the brain can grow new neurons, and exercises involving memory and logic can even help rebuild the connections between them. Exercises like word games, Sudoku puzzles, dominoes and chess can regenerate neurons, as can challenging yourself to vary your day-to-day routine. Walking somewhere by a different route, relacing a pair of shoes or brushing your teeth with the opposite hand can be effective. Exercising the imagination by making up stories or writing a song on a musical instrument helps keep the powers of narrative and memory alive.
    My friend reads a lot, and he and his wife work on complicated puzzles and crossword puzzles to maintain acuteness. The best part of my day is working The New York Times crossword puzzle each day. Even though I only master it less than 50 percent of the time, I enjoy the challenge as well as games on my computer.
    The Internet is a great source for brain exercise such as Azkidsnet.com, where you can find a basket full of riddles, knock-knock jokes and brain teasers such as: What happened in 1961 and will not happen again until 6009? Answer: The year reads the same upside down.
    Anyone afflicted with Alzheimer’s in the greater Kansas City area should contact the Heart of America Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association,serving 66 counties in Missouri and Kansas. Its website – Alz.org – spews forth a wealth of information, including help aids and brain exercises. The number of Americans who have the disease has reached 5.4 million. It is also the sixth leading cause of death. One of my classmates is among that number, and my friend is aware of those statistics and is fighting back with a glass-half-full mentality. He is truly an inspiration.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
     
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