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Zen_Again's avatar

Disagree with me: I need the exercise. Did you know this is one of the best ways to shake up the cognitive egg?

Asked by Zen_Again (9901points) May 2nd, 2010

There’s a new book out on the topic of middle-aged brains. Here’s an interview with its author. It’s quite optimistic.


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32 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Hmmm…well, I don’t see anything there that is extraordinary, infact…the study of well being peaking in men age 65 is contradictory to other stats that have shown that the highest rates of suicide are amongst white men over age 60. lol

Personally I know and know of more depressed and grumpy, negative middle aged guys over the last few years than optimistic cheerful ones. lol

I dunno…my brains still sharp and I just turned 50 a few months ago..notice a bit of the short term memory loss like forgetting where I parked my car on occasion, but overall, the article really didn’t say much of anything eye opening.

I do agree that most middle agers are happier and more optimistic than they might have been in their younger years, but I don’t think it’s brain power, it’s simply life experience IMO.

Overall I’d rate that article on a 1–10 scale at about a 4, as far as telling me something I didn’t already know.

Pretty dilute…meh. haha

Zen_Again's avatar

Typical answer from you @Coloma – but it’s just an interview with the author. By the way, do you really laugh out loud after each sentence you write, or do you just include lol and haha for… I’m not sure why actually… emphasis? You missed the point – and the optimistic claim is mine alone – my opinion – and it is optimistic compared with other research and writings. meh.

netgrrl's avatar

Fluther has to be the best place for us. We’re not just shaking up the cognitive egg, we often scramble them completely!

Coloma's avatar

Wow…defensive a little Zen?

Methinks you fall into the grumpy middle aged guy camp..blech! ( No, lol there )

“Typical’ that so?

And what is ‘typical’ about my answers?

I simply found nothing earth shattering in that article.

Yes, I do laugh a lot..I am naturally possessed of optimism and cheerful spirit.

Whats puzzeling to me is that you call yourself ‘Zen’ certainly do not seem Zen like. ( LOL )

SuperMouse's avatar

Optimistic? I was kind of counting on the middle aged brain going south so I could have an excuse to sit around watching Wheel of Fortune and complaining about kids these days! @Zen_Again your take on this topic is all backwards and just plain wrong. Mush, the middle-aged brain should rightfully turn to mush!

Zen_Again's avatar

I am glad we disagree, it is great exercise for my brain, @coloma. But you sound defensive, and perhaps you should be. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. And be careful with personal remarks – I’ll let that slide.

Edit: @supermouse – you are mistaken, as usual, and I couldn’t disagree with you more.

Coloma's avatar


Are you serious? Personal remarks…ya mean like defining the totality of me as ‘typical’ ?…mutual slide.

Cruiser's avatar

Isn’t this all just a matter of “been there done that”? I will be 50 in 4 days and look back on a lot of choices I made as being the best choices given the knowledge and information I had at the time and hind sight is 20/20 is all. Nothing earth shattering there! I would also posit us “wiser” folk also know the paths of least resistance and the shortest most direct route we can take so there is more hammock time that we so deserve!! ;) No special brain magic…just well earned common sense!

Coloma's avatar


Agreed…there is simply no perfect formula to reduce any individuals life experience or brain power into a little cubicle of science.

Right on!

Happy big 5–0 in advance…I left the country for chinese New Year in Asia…a big bang to be sure! :-)

Cruiser's avatar

@Coloma Thanks…I think!! lol! I wish I could blast out of here for an overseas vaca/journey like that! Sounds like it was a “blast”!

Coloma's avatar


It was!

Strings of firecrackers, morters, and god knows what all explosives, it was night & day for 2 solid weeks!

Sometimes it was like being in a war zone, the blasting would last, literally for minutes on end!

Just do it, take yourself somewhere wild & crazy, you’ve earned it! ;-)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Zen_Again I haven’t read the book, but I had seen this interview before (I remembered!) and it pretty much jibes with what I’d been realizing about myself. I do get absent-minded about things from time to time (why did I come into this room, anyway?), but I attribute that to having a lot more things on my mind now than I used to—and more important things than “pick up laundry to take to the washer”; when that becomes a critical issue, then I don’t forget it. I’m way better at remembering names now than I was when I was younger.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I’m in my 20s have a terrible short term memory. Does this mean I’m screwed?

lloydbird's avatar

I possess a copy of this book, but have yet to read it fully (beyond a substantial dip). Although, I am in agreement with its gist.
I suspect that much of our behaviours and conditions are driven by our expectations. And that we get what we expect. Expect decrepitude and that is what you will get (environmentally induced poisonings notwithstanding), contrary to what we are actually capable of.
The expectations that I have adopted dictate that I shall maintain excellent physical and mental fitness well beyond my traditionally allotted three score and ten quota. And I’m happy to be able to relate that I am well on course for achieving this, with my being far fitter now than when I was more than half my current ”middle” age.
Expectation and resultant behaviour is the key.

As a little related aside, some of you might find this to be an amusing/daunting exercise.

Zen_Again's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Not screwed – it means you have to exercise.

@LB Thanks for the game. I have about 2 years to live. Thanks, because I disagree with it.

Trillian's avatar

@Cruiser Happy birthday you ornery Taurus you! This explains a lot! ;-)

lloydbird's avatar

@Zen_Again I disagree with it it too, and agree with you on this. Sorry if my doing so messes with your original premise. ;-)
@Cruiser Looking good for four days off 50 dude. Hope you have a good celebration.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Zen_Again The article is complete crap, it is nonsense! Please defend it or don’t even dare speak of it.
is that enough disagreement ;)

lillycoyote's avatar

You mean my middle aged cognitive eggs aren’t all scrambled? Many of them are sunny side up?

netgrrl's avatar

@lillycoyote I went to a special sale & traded mine in for cadbury creme eggs.

Cruiser's avatar

@Trillian Thanks! Could you do me a small favor and explain it to me when you get a chance! ;))

Pandora's avatar

You give it a good wack and it won’t bother you again.

Coloma's avatar

Well then..perhaps my answer WAS ‘typical’...typical of the majorities opinion!

It’s the hard boiled eggs that have the most density!

Zen_Again's avatar

Thanks for all agreeing to disagree. Please feel free to sling it out on any subject. This thread is dedicated to arguing in the hopes to train our old brains and ward off dementia.


lillycoyote's avatar

@Zen_Again But just imagine the arguments we could have when we’re all even more demented than we are now!

Jeruba's avatar

Ok, here’s a contrary answer for you, my friend @Zen_Again. I know nothing about the book other than the interview you linked, but I feel confident in this surmise: the author wants to sell books. And the author knows very well what the population demographics look like. That age group is a desirable target for any sales and marketing effort.

This book could have been concocted as a cynical blend of sure-fire elements (for example, age-group appeal + topic of brain/intelligence/mind + fear + hope, just to name a few) in much the same way that a documentary some years ago showed the creation of a new snack food by putting together one from column A, one from column B—an assemblage of artificial texture, chemically produced flavors, artificial coloring, packaging, and folksy name strictly on the basis of a popularity profile. It wasn’t a matter of taking an existing snack food and marketing it mass-produced but of inventing something totally fake purely to appeal to the maximum market share.

This title doesn’t have to have anything real behind it but a desire to sell a book and a proposal that looks good enough to convince a publisher.

Is your brain feeling better yet?

Zen_Again's avatar

@ my dear Jeruba.. my brain always feels better when I read your posts. * sigh *

But I disagree. I read the article, I haven’t read the book; this doesn’t mean that she should be dismissed as just another book selling marketing schemer. A lot of what she says is backed by research, and truthfully, based on my parents, friends and tons of jellies over the years – it makes sense. Why can’t something positive sell books, too? Can’t it be good news for a change?

Dare to disagree. I need the exercise.

mattbrowne's avatar

Short-term memory is somewhat affected. Neuroplasticity in general isn’t. Even the 80-year-old brain can learn all kinds of new stuff.

Coloma's avatar

My grandmother was the poster granny for zip…still sharp as a tack at 97!

She could have wiped out about 20 years of Jeopardy contestants!

I inherited good brain chemistry, a long and distinguished line of architects,teachers, translators, muscians and writers, AND emotionally stable to boot!

Thanks Gramma! ;-)

lloydbird's avatar

@Coloma So…., are “typical” then…eh?

Coloma's avatar


I don’t follow???

lloydbird's avatar

@Coloma You are of the same type as your dear “Gramma”. ;-)

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