The UK is hosting a G8 summit on dementia this week and there is a lot of comment on the matter, including concern that dementia is becoming a world-wide problem, particularly in the elderly.
I'm approaching 73 and still doing plenty of jazz gigs and although I'm 'slowing down' a bit I'm generally OK. I was wondering if playing an instrument, especially reading dots or chords keeps the brain in good order and tends to slow down the onset of dementia.
Any experience, comments, opinions?
Well that's just.... what? What were you saying?
Given that none of us are getting younger, and because we all depend on our brains, the seeming "epidemic" of dementia is certainly alarming.
I've read that mental exercise in general is correlated with lower rates of dementia. I don't know if playing music has been studied specifically, but I plan on playing for as long as possible.
There is alarming research that states our diet has great influence over brain decline.
This comes from "Grain Brain" by David Perlmutter, MD...
"One of the most frequent questions I get at my clinic from famililies of patients is How did this happen? What did my mother (or father, brother, sister) do wrong?... But if I had to tell family members (myself included) the absolute truth given what we know today, I'd say that their loved one may have done one or more of the following:
-lived with chronic high blood sugar levels even in the absence of diabetes
-eaten too many carbohydrates throughout his or her life
-opted for a low-fat diet that minimized cholesterol
-had undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley"
For a number of decades we've gotten it all wrong with our food...especially in America. The food pyramid is total B.S.!
I'm certain that music or any activity that keeps the brain moving is a big help, but it' just a small piece of the puzzle.
My father-in-law suffers from a combination of extreme anxiety and dementia, so it's a topic very close to home for my lady and I. He always ate huge meals, drank lots of beer, and lived a very high stress lifestyle running his own businesses.
Consider checking out "Grain Brain" and also "The Better Brain Book" by David Perlmutter, MD.
Switching from beer to red wine is a good place to start.
I wish you many more years of happy health and music!!!
Use it. Or lose it.
I went to a jam session today. The drummer, who hosted it, is in his 90's, and he also sings and plays harmonica. The pianist is in his mid 80's. Both looked younger than their age and were competent players. I tend to think that playing music is something that keeps our brains young.
Another thing I would like to add to the mix of keeping our brains young is: exercise. I think the value of this has been substantiated by research. Playing upright bass counts as exercise for me.
I used to swim with a guy in his 80s.
I should be in as good shape.
Heck any of us should.
An old guy
I'm going on 71 and I think forcing myself to remember chords and various other things involved with playing with my band helps me.My meds sometimes make it difficult to stay sharp.I need them,of course.Nerve damage has made it difficult to play,but I've be able to work around all of that.Using a short scale helps..I'm glad to hear from someone who is older then me and still playing.!I don't feel I'm alone.That makes me feel good about what I may be still be able to do.
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