I’ve noticed that my tendency to daydream has declined rapidly in the past few years. Not that I ever daydreamed to excess, but in those quiet moments alone at home, my mind would occasionaly indulge itself with flights of fancy. But not so much anymore.
I’ve also noticed that my mind is quite as sharp as it once was. Not that I have become dotty, but I seem to forget things more often. Inconsequential and forgettable things mostly, but nevertheless, there’s a hole in the seive somewhere.
So I kind of freaked out when I read this:
Study Links Daydreaming, Alzheimer’s
A new Washington University study shows the part of the brain used to daydream is the same where Alzheimer’s disease develops — in some people — later in life. It suggests the normal brain activity of daydreaming fuels the sequence of events leading to Alzheimer’s.
"The implication, albeit a speculative one, is that those activity patterns in young adults are the foothold onto which Alzheimer’s disease forms," said lead researcher Randy Buckner, associate professor of psychology. He said they may lead to a life-long cascade that ends in Alzheimer’s disease in some people.
Researchers at Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh used five imaging techniques to map the brains of 764 people. The subjects fell into three groups — people in their 20s, and older people with either early-stage dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
When they compared images, they found that parts of the brain involved in musing, daydreaming or recalling pleasant memories in young people were where evidence of Alzheimer’s disease appears.