Do Good Grades and a Complex Career Lower the Risk of Developing Dementias?

Complex Careers Diminish Dementias Risks?A recent dementias study made the news with the assertion that it appears that people who make good grades in school and who have challenging and complex careers may have a lower risk of developing dementias.

I don’t agree with this at all.

I also think it gives false hope to all of us not yet showing signs of dementias.

Dementias are complex neurological diseases. Their development includes innumerable factors – most of which we don’t even know – that are involved in their genesis at the organic level (technology overload and addiction, which is rampant now, is definitely one of many lifestyle factors that are inorganic and not even included in the equation).

The reality is that I’ve known quite a few people in my life with dementias, including my mom.

Good Grades Diminish Dementias Risk?They were excellent students and had very complex and demanding careers, along with personal lives that were filled with learning new things and sharing them in a way to put those things into practice.

Application is the complex side of learning.

There are some people who learn for the sake of learning, but they never do anything with it or figure out how to actually apply it in their lives, so it quickly goes away.

The people who learn and then do something with that learning – application – retain the knowledge and grow in it.

Some of those people that I’ve known, including my mom, were scientists.

Some were multicultural historians and linguists (a study was done that suggested that being bilingual lowers the chances that you will develop dementias).

Some were teachers.

Some were accomplished musicians (there was a recent study that suggested that playing a musical instrument insulates you from dementias).

Some were engineers.

None of these people were slouches as students or in their careers.

In other words, the majority of the people I’ve known with dementias were at the top of their fields academically and professionally, and it didn’t make a difference.

We humans cling to false hope and what we want to be true because it’s easier than admitting how much we don’t know and how much uncertainty lies in not knowing. It’s a form of self-deception that we all are susceptible to.

The best we can do is educate ourselves about dementias. Then we do the hard part of applying that knowledge and making the changes we have control over (lifestyle is a huge factor) immediately to protect ourselves as well as we are able.

How do we do that in practical terms?

Education is the point of and the reason for this blog. I have developed and written and continue to develop and write posts so that this is an exhaustive and comprehensive educational resource on the types of dementia and on practical and in-the-moment caregiving.

There is not another blog out there that looks at these neurological diseases from a big picture aspect – covering all the dementias – and gives caregiving information that people can use today in appropriately responsive and loving caregiving for their loved ones.

Education is also the point of and the reason for the two books I’ve written on practical caregiving and practically understanding, walking through, and responding to the steps of the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease that we walk with our loved ones.

I urge all of us to know the facts and not get caught up in studies that promise things that are not provable or that are suspect.

Dementias are big-picture neurological diseases with a lot of unknowns that come into play for them to develop. Instead of focusing on a particular type of dementia, focus on what all dementias look like in real life.

Educate yourselves on real life caregiving and how to improve on being loving, kind, and gentle caregivers who also maintain the dignity and independence (as much as safety will allow independence) of your loved ones.

Educate yourselves on what steps you can take to eliminate some of the known factors in your own lives. Then apply that knowledge and eliminate them.

The reality is that the brain is the most complex system in the body and our insights into it have barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn about this incredible control center each of us have been given. The reality is that we will never understand it completely in a comprehensive way.

But Going Gentle Into That Good Night takes the comprehensive approach and, as much as can be understood about dementias from all the possible angles provides that information to you as a resource.

Take some time to read the posts listed on the right sidebar.

There is a search button at the top. Use it to search for topics you’re interested in.

If you don’t see a topic you’d like to see covered, send an email with the topic and, if it has merit, then it will be researched and discussed.

This is our blog. Your participation and input is valuable. I look forward to hearing from you.

5 thoughts on “Do Good Grades and a Complex Career Lower the Risk of Developing Dementias?

  1. Everyone hopes it will just end up being one thing that can be avoided or somehow fixed. Mama always got lots of exercise, was never overweight, ate healthy food (and drug us to the health food store on Wall Street back when they were just weird and not trendy) and loved to learn new things all her life. So, she did pretty much everything I’ve ever heard that is supposed to help avoid it. I even remember her ditching her aluminum cookware when there was speculation that it could be harmful! On the plus side, though, I’m sure her healthy lifestyle really helped with everything but her mind (and maybe with that too, to some extent – who knows!). Her doctors were always surprised at what excellent physical condition she was in. Altzheimers was pretty much the only thing that was ever wrong with her.

    • Your mama was incredibly healthy and my mama always fought the weight, but did everything as well to do all the right things. Both our mamas were bright and talented – that’s the part of this latest theory that gets under my skin – so they should have been fine neurologically. But it’s impossible to know all the things that contribute to dementias. In fact, it may be different things in the case of our mamas. We just don’t know. And they just don’t know.

      What makes me angry is the “silver bullet” garbage that gets touted to people desperate for answers and hope and the, in many cases, money-making machines behind it. As if dementias aren’t bad enough, there’s the greed and taking advantage of vulnerable people as well. Not many things make my blood boil, but seeing people who are vulnerable being exploited in any way is at the top of the things that do.

  2. I have been through an ongoing 3 year journey as a caregiver to my brother who has dementia. I am sorry I did not find your blog earlier. I know it does not matter how smart you are when it comes to dementia. My mother died with dementia and she was a smart lady, with so much common sense it was hard to believe when she developed dementia. I have 3 siblings and each is in a different stage of dementia. It is a mystery to me as the second child of four why I have yet to travel that long journey into dementia. I shall read more of your blog posts. I never give up trying to help others through my blog. Being a caregiver has been a hard journey. I had to place my brother in a nursing home a year ago because of my husbands near death experience with meningitis and now severe COPD. I have many health problems myself and being older does not help when stress abounds. My brother does not know any of his family anymore, but we still visit and make sure things are going well for him. Dementia is a heart breaker. This was a good post you wrote, I commend you on the work that you do.

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