The Answer to Age-Related Memory Loss

Posted on October 13, 2016


This entire presidential election season aside, most humans dislike forgetting things. They especially dislike forgetting things when those things consist of cell phones, credit cards, medical appointments, and the locations of our cars and grandchildren.

Forgetting can cause confusion and subsequent embarrassment.  A close friend of Life in the Boomer Lane, already owning a long list of embarrassing life events, recently dug into her purse at the airline gate and presented the airline employee with a mini-pad, instead of her boarding pass. LBL knows exactly what you are wondering, and she will say that your sense of decorum leaves much to be desired.  She will also say that every single person she told this story to had the exact same sense of decorum you do. The answer is: It was unused.

Back to the point of this post: For those of you who have forgotten an inordinate number of items in your lives, research offers hope. But before we lift your spirits, let us start with a really depressing statement, compliments of Science Daily:

Synapses, connecting the neurons in our brains, continuously encode new memories, but the ability to form new memories (“learning”) diminishes drastically for many of us, as we get older.

Now that we have confirmed your darkest fears, it’s time to pull you from the brink:

According to Science Daily, a group of scientists at the Free University of Berlin have discovered that, by administering a simple substance already found in our bodies, age-related synaptic changes can be halted. This means we can protect ourselves from age-induced memory impairment, a comforting thought that might be able to get us past election day.

The researchers discovered this by using the common fruit fly. This was because fruit flies, in addition to being incredibly annoying and seeming to have no purpose in our lives or their own, also suffer from age-related memory impairment. One might wonder why this would be an issue for the fruit fly, since about all they have to know in life is how to hover around the bowl of fruit on LBL’s kitchen counter. And one might also wonder how scientists even learned that the fruit fly suffered from memory loss, in the first place. Perhaps scientists observed fruit flies leaving fruit and flying aimlessly around shoes left on the floor, looking confused and pissed off.

The key to age-related memory loss, it turns out, is a substance we all have in us: spermidine.  At this point in the post, LBL would normally explain to readers what, exactly, spermidine is. But such an explanation would consist of a lot of big words with a lot of syllables, and wouldn’t give readers the opportunity to let their immaginations run wild.

For those readers, LBL asks you to take a break in making smarmy jokes about what spremidine might be, and requests that you save such thoughts for the comments section, in order to amuse all those folks who have nothing better to to, while waiting for CNN to pay attention to something other than Trump’s smarmy sexual escapades.

Moving on, she will tell you that feeding the fruit flies a diet supplemented by spermidine resulted in a notable improvement in the fruit flies’ memories. Fruit flies were able to remember fruit they had eaten from decades back and remark that fruit just doesn’t taste the same anymore. It is not known whether the scientists, themselves, were secretly glugging down spermidine-laced wine coolers, while they worked, or if they engaged in a discussion with the fruit flies about how much better everything used to be in the past.

What does all this mean for boomers and for those travelling with mini-pads in their purses? Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before spermidine hits the market in all kinds of forms: spermidine supplements, spermidine tea, spermidine enriched bread, eau-de-spermidine.  Of course, it’s too late for LBL’s friend to undo her mini-pad fiasco, but opefully, she will be able to beef up her internal supply of spermidine before she is bannd from all air travel in the future.