Indie authors and the fight against Alzheimer’s disease

Those of you who have read my blogs for a while realize that the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is one of the things that drives me.

My mother succumbed to the disease eight years ago, and my wife and I have worked with various Alzheimer’s groups for many years, long before my mom was stricken.

Today, I will be driving to Dallas for my first meeting with the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  I am an incoming board member thanks to a local representative who placed my name before the  nominating committee.

But that’s not the subject of this blog.

Rather, this blog is about the one thing that has been proved beyond a doubt to be the best way to stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Any guesses?

Aging with Grace

This finding comes from a research project now known as the Nun Study.  The name comes from David Snowdon’s seminal project which eventually became the foundation for the book, Aging With Grace.

A group of nuns agreed to participate in the study which involved detailed interviews over a period of years and autopsies of their brains.  It is a wonderful book, written in a compassionate style, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Alzheimer’s.

But it is only one of the findings that form the basis of this post.

What’s the best way to ward off Alzheimer’s?

Learn new things, every day of your life.

Snowdon found that when the autopsies were performed some of the persons who had amyloid plaque in their brains, a primary indicator of Alzheimer’s, did not show symptoms of the disease.

These were persons who continued to learn new skills, who never stopped  moving, who had a curiosity about everything.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that anyone who remains intellectually active will avoid the dread disease.

I wish it were so.

But I am saying that people who keep learning new things have a better chance to escape it.

Which brings me to Indie authors.

As a group, I would say that Indie authors who really work at their jobs as writers are people who have to learn something new daily.  The digital publishing world of last week is passe and that of tomorrow is an unknown.  To stay on top of it an author must keep her finger on the pulse.  She has to learn a whole raft of skills, and then add other skills as new occasions require them.

So take heart, Indie authors.  It just may be that all the work you are doing doesn’t only help you in your career, it helps keep your  mind alive.

And that is no small thing.

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