Diary, 5/3/22: a dream; Roe off life support; my first homemade smoothie; lots of neuroscience news; naps and cognitive decline; the “wisdom of the body.”
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved
Woke from a dream: A high-school-aged black man and black woman are walking together, and he leads them on a path to avoid the crowd of people leaving school. They walk for “an hour or two” (I think I was telling myself the story, in the dream) and they come to an enclosed, park-like space, surrounded by a hemisphere of woven iron slats or bars. Somewhere along the way, I have taken the place of the black man, but I’m also aware of being the eye of the camera. This double consciousness remains until the rapidly approaching end of the dream. The woman is not attractive, but she is approaching the camera/me. She says, “X, look at me” where X is a name. She enters my personal space and her mouth approaches, pursed for a kiss. Camera/me approaches her, the screen is fading, and as the kiss starts, the screen has gone black. That was it.
Listening to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir soundtrack again last night, this morning I find it has become an earworm. I wrote some on TLC, less than a page, continuing a scene from yesterday. Her kisses were falling on his face like raindrops. I liked it a lot.
Now it’s 6:30 am and I’ve been awake for about three hours; for the first hour or so I was trying to get back to sleep; it’s not always easy to tell whether I’ve succeeded at all, or partially. Unless I have visions (dreaming, or half asleep) I’m sometimes unsure—but in this case I’d guess not. One clue is the subjective passage of time; if it seems too short compared to the clock, I was probably asleep.
The big news yesterday was a leaked draft of a decision explicitly overturning Roe v. Wade. This catastrophe for women is probably the best thing that could have happened for Democrats in the upcoming election. If this doesn’t electrify the voters, they deserve their fate. (But I exaggerate: they don’t deserve this.)
“Hundreds” of women and I suppose some men were out protesting within hours of the story breaking—that very evening. That’s great, but where have the Democratic politicians been hiding? Where is the Congress? The Democrats have been relying on Roe v. Wade to do their work for them, when they could have passed laws cementing the decision in place. The warning signs were loud and clear, every time a Supreme Court vacancy occurred, and in half the speeches the politicians have made in the decades since Roe. The Democrats must share some of the blame for this tragedy, because, unlike the Republicans, they simply have not been disciplined. They’ve been sleeping while the wolves howled. I suppose I’m being both unfair and hypocritical, but I can live with that.
I learned after writing the above that the House Democrats passed a “Women’s Health” law—I don’t remember the exact title—but it faces the usual roadblocks in the Senate and so has not proceeded there and is unlikely to—unless the Democrat establishment has some big guns against Manchin and Sinema that they haven’t used yet. The filibuster roadblock requiring sixty votes, however, was not in place during the five decades since Roe; that part is more recent.
Now, at 8:00 this morning I tried a very simple smoothie: protein powder, almond milk, and fresh spinach (freshly washed). I also washed the relevant parts of the blender. The first thing I learned is that the Ninja Fit is very noisy. Of course it was naïve of me to expect a 700 watt motor to be anything else… But onward: the spinach was so minutely fragmented that the smoothie was indeed smooth. Alas, the smoothie was “chalky,” somewhat bitter, and generally unpleasant, though this time I didn’t get “a mouthful of powder.” I managed to drink it. So my “simple recipe” was too simple, and I’ll need to add something, change something, or find an alternative to my protein powder, which I’ll remind readers was Garden of Life “Raw Organic Meal organic shake and meal replacement.” In addition to the smoothie, I had a banana, a cup of Cheetos, two chocolate chip cookies, and a nap. About two hours later, I was hungry again, but so far have resisted eating before lunch. So, once again “it’s not that easy.”
From Neuroscience News: “Children with ADHD and emotional regulation disorders who consumed a micronutrient formal [formula?] made of essential minerals and vitamins were three times more likely to show improvements in symptoms compared to those who did not consume the formula.” Link to the article.
Reading my handwritten diary from 2017 in bed this morning, finding much that I want to “preserve,” like in the A-List. But I kept reading, letting these things slip away (more or less). Perhaps I need to highlight as I go, as I do with books.
Little red marks on my left arm; spider bites?
Another article from Neuroscience News: “Women expecting male babies often face more complications during pregnancy. Researchers found the sex of a baby affects how well the placenta functions, along with other factors including maternal stress and diet-induced maternal obesity. Designing individual plans and encouraging women to make lifestyle choices based on their child’s sex could provide long-term health benefits and reduce complications during pregnancy.” Link.
And another, personally relevant: “Study reveals a bi-directional link between daytime napping and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers say longer, more frequent napping was associated with worse cognition after one year, and worse cognition was linked to longer and more frequent daytime naps.” Link. More quotes:
“We now know that the pathology related to cognitive decline can cause other changes in function,” he said. “It’s really a multi-system disorder, also including difficulty sleeping, changes in movement, changes in body composition, depression symptoms, behavioral changes, etc.” “He” is “Aron Buchman, MD, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center.”
“Any prolonged period of no activity during the daytime from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. was considered a nap.
“Daily napping increased by about 11 minutes per year among those who didn’t develop cognitive impairment during follow-up. Naps doubled after a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, and nearly tripled after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
“…older people who napped more than an hour a day had a 40% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
“Buchman stressed that the study does not imply that napping causes Alzheimer’s dementia, or vice versa.
“‘This is an observational study, so we can’t say that ‘a causes b’,” he said. “But we can say that they unfold at the same time, and it’s possible that the same pathologies may contribute to both.’”
Moving right along…
Here’s something that has been a popular (meaning that I’ve heard of it) idea about why we want to eat certain things: we need those things. My last article from Neuroscience News today: “Pioneering research has shed new light on what drives people’s basic food preferences, indicating our choices may be smarter than previously thought and influenced by the specific nutrients, as opposed to just calories, we need.” And here’s the link.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved