Mighty Mouse and You

Posted on August 11, 2017


Those readers who are convinced that North Korean missiles are now, even as we speak, headed this way, have no need to continue reading this blog post. If you truly believe you have mere moments left, you certainly don’t want to spend them wallowing in Life in the Boomer Lane’s depleted mental universe. Please come up with something that has a bit more value, even if it just means polishing off all the snacks in the house.

The rest of you, those who believe you may have some time left in which to inhabit the earth, may be concerned about your aging brain cells.  Aging brain cells, like any other body part, are susceptible to deterioration. They become inflexible, unruly, and often run amok at any given moment. This wreaks havoc with daily schedules, interpersonal relationships and sexual activity.  They also send mixed signals about hair. They stop growing hair in places we like hair to be, and they start growing hair in places we don’t want hair to be. LBL is absolutely convinced that this hair/no hair phenomenon, as well as all the other brain misdirection is the result of nothing more than the brain needing a good laugh, after decades of being serious and keeping our lives on track.

While LBL has no control over North Korean missiles, nor over the verbal schoolyard threats of two leaders who seem set on trying to out-crazy each other, she is pleased to now offer you some relief from worry about your aging brain: Researchers from the University of Utah  report they can rejuvenate the plasticity of the mouse brain.  This rejuvenation is the result of the manipulation of one single gene. The result is that the aging mouse brain can now process more, remember more, and want to stay up later and party.

It’s a small shift from the mouse brain to the human brain.  Mice and humans share about 97.5% of their DNA, which is why mice are used in experimentation. The other 2.5% is what we see as the difference: Mice have tails and fur, scurry around on all fours, and have never been known to elect a dangerous and incompetent leader.

This latest research into brain rejuvenation has its upside and its downside. On the upside, it means that boomers and beyond will stay mentally vibrant into old age. We will never plan two social engagements at the same time, get our grandchildren’s names confused, or be unable to reach our car in a parking lot.  We will know exactly which holiday we are commemorating and which birthday we are celebrating. Most importantly, we will know when it’s appropriate to open the front door to groups of unruly young people in order to toss candy at them, or when it’s appropriate to call the cops when those same young people appear.   We will buy birthday cards for people and remember to mail them. We will not have to re-read 75% of a book before realizing we already read it.

On the downside, we will all rush back to school and then not be able to get jobs. We will cause rock concert prices to go up.  We will wear inappropriate clothing on the beach.  We will also remember why we were angry at someone and which family member dissed us. Some of us will wonder why we are married to an old person. Older Republicans will turn back into Democrats, and the Republican party will flounder.

Scientists have not yet said when this new procedure will be available to the general public.  Until then, our brains will continue their relentless downward slide. Before too long, the entire rodent population will be far superior to us, although one could make a pretty strong case that this actually happened about 9 months ago.