Cognitive Dissonance

The Sharpest Pencil in the Box

Anne went to the hospital yesterday. She had some blood drawn and had to take a cognitive test. Yeah, that one. Apparently, probably because a certain someone has blabbed about it all over the news, they no longer use person, woman, man, TV, camera, as the five words to remember and parrot back. Instead, she got: face, velvet, church, daisy, red. In case you were the least bit worried, by the end of the test, she was certified a very stable genius. Although, in another part of this test she was asked to recite as many words as she could in thirty seconds that begin with the letter “F”. Her problem was that there is a certain word, a wirty-dord that comes to mind. A word that she did not want to recite, but this being 2020 and all that, a word that kept reaching for the tip of her tongue. According to the tester, she would not have been the first one to recite it.

In case you were wondering, Anne had volunteered to participate in a medical study, called SEABIRD (Study to Evaluate Amyloid in Blood and Imaging Related to Dementia). For the price of her time and a few teaspoons of her blood, she got a t-shirt. Do they really measure blood by the teaspoon? The Red Cross still measures it by the pint, so I guess so. Anyway, the purpose of this study is to look for amyloid in the blood, as an early marker of future Alzheimer. Amyloid refers to abnormal fibrous, extracellular, proteinaceous deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer patients. Aren’t you glad you asked?

She was motivated to join this study, because her mother had suffered from dementia. This bit of family history probably makes her more attractive to the researchers running this study. They are only in the first phase of this study. If selected and only a third of the participants will be, she will be invited to join the study’s next phase, which will involve more questions and more bleeding.

Having known a person who had dementia, one has to wonder about oneself. When you are young and you can’t remember something that you should, it is easy to chalk it up to last night at the bar. But as you get older, these senior moments take on a more ominous portent. It is natural to forget more things with age. You have more to remember than when you were young. I feel that in the end it comes down to a matter of degree. The cutoff being determined by one’s own self-sufficiency. If asked, say everything’s fine, even if it’s not. Last night, we watched the new Netflix Sarah Cooper special, Everything’s Fine. Talk about some cognitive dissonance. 

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