If we were having coffee I’d say, hey, do ever read Alison Gopnik’s stuff? She writes the Mind&Matter column in the Wall Street Journal. This week she made my day. She reported on a new study by Jay Blundon at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital where he alters mouse genes. Yep, old mice can learn new tricks.
It all started with a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Michael Merzenich says older brains produce chemicals that actively suppress flexibility. You know, the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it-mindset of using what you know instead of being open to learning something new.
Now, about those mouse genes. Blundon and his colleagues set to tinkering. They injected chemicals found in young mice to counteract the inhibitors in old ones and, whaddya know, the older brains started looking – and behaving – like younger ones. I’m not a doctor, but, any bit of good news, even the most radical of possibilities, in the field of aging intrigues me. I don’t necessarily want the brain of a child but resisting change, well, that’s not in my personal evolutionary plan.
So, how do you fire up your neurons? Me? I listen to Merzenich’s podcast and guzzle caffeine. Do you ever wonder what our President uses to fuel his late-night tweets? It’s got us all guessing, that’s for sure. Sen. Orrin Hatch piped up last week, following the MSNBC hoopla, saying he was “not a fan” and that every once in a while you get a “dipsy-doodle.” (Like the sound of Wile E. Coyote going splat? How bad can it get? Brace yourself.)
Whenever you think you’re crazy
You’re just a victim of the Dipsy Doodle
Ah, but it’s not your mind that’s hazy
It’s your tongue that’s at fault, not your noodle.
The Dipsy-Doodle Song made songwriter/bandleader Larry Clinton famous. Such a talented guy, he played trumpet, trombone, and clarinet, but he used them all sparingly because he had a ”10:30 lip,” meaning that it tired early in the evening. Food for thought, Tweeters.
Online and on screens ~ oversize egos, unruly behavior, shifting cultural tides. Do you wonder the outcome ~ selfishness or selflessness? We’re on the precipice, ready to radically redefine society as we know it. Maybe those mice genes hold the secret to more than just keeping our wits sharp.
#weekend coffee share/www credits Sue K for inspiring this post