If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Did I Come in This Room?

Leonard Pitts, one of my favorite columnists, recently wrote a column on forgetfulness. He wrote that as he approached the thirtieth commemoration of his thirtieth birthday, he finds that happens a lot lately. It reminded him of an old expression; “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” He couldn’t remember who said that and cited numerous episodes he’d had of forgetting.

 I relate to that. A few weeks ago I was thinking I needed to start cutting down shrubs that keep popping up everywhere. Although I’ve had them for years and years, I couldn’t remember the name of them. So I looked through garden catalogs and found they were; ‘Rose of Sharon.’ I felt so foolish. How could I forget something I’ve had for years? Then I wanted to get some of that frozen stuff for punch I was making, something that wasn’t ice cream, but fruity at the grocery store, but I couldn’t find it and couldn’t ask anyone because I couldn’t remember what it was called. Then I saw it on a bottom shelf in the freezer; sherbet. Again I felt stupid.

Based on this article, I decided to blog about it. (If one of my fellow bloggers has already blogged about this topic, please forgive my forgetfulness.) So I went to my old friend Google to see what it had to say about it. There was too much to write everything, so I’ll hit the highlights of several articles.

First was an article entitled “Major cause of age-related memory loss discovered.” I’d heard about it on NPR, and maybe many of you have already heard of this discovery by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center. It seems that a protein RbAp48 deficiency in the brain is a major cause of age-related memory loss. The study was published online in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The researchers say this form of memory loss is reversible. Of course, it may be some years before it can apply to us, but it’s working in mice.

WebMD in an article titled “Is Your Memory Normal?” wrote “They say that memory loss is the second thing to happen as you get older. So what’s the first? Ummm, I forgot!” The article states that mild memory loss is perfectly normal – especially as we age. If we forget simple things, we’re not necessarily developing Alzheimer’s disease. There are a lot of people just like us who misplace things, can’t remember the name of a person they recognize, but haven’t seen for a while or only met once.  Stuart Zola, PhD,  a research career scientist who has dedicated his work to memory function, says it happens as young as in the 20s and 30s, but we worry more about it when we hit fifties and older.  He said, “Memory is tricky, and time is the worst enemy. Shortly after taking in information, memory traces begin to deteriorate; some fade right away, some less quickly and a lot depends on the nature of the information, how important the information is and also depends on our stress level. All are things that can affect memory. 

Another thing I found interesting was that if we’ve had a debate with someone about something we both experienced in the past and disagree with the other’s perception of it, it’s because the longer the period of time that passes between the event and trying to recall it, the greater the chance we’re going to have some memory distortions and forgetting. Sometimes the time distortion causes us to forget the event totally.

Some things that can cause memory problems are: alcoholism, Vitamin B-12 deficiency (must put that on my shopping list) infections, and drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter. Also, Zola said depression and stress are the most common reasons for temporary memory problems.

Some things we can do to help:

Focus your attention. Forgetfulness may indicate that you have too much on your mind. Slow down and focus on the task at hand. Multitasking and not paying attention are some of the biggest causes of forgetfulness, especially in young people.

Reduce stress. Stress can endanger the brain areas involved with memory processing and impair memory.

Choose to snooze. Zola says sleep is important because fatigue can affect memory and concentration in any age group.

Structure your environment. Use calendars, clocks, lists, notes, and write down daily activities on a planner or use an electric organizer. Store easy-to-lose items in the same place each time after using them. Park your car in the same place at the office each day.

Try memory tricks. To remember a person’s name, repeat it several times after being introduced. Use the same PIN for all of your accounts if necessary.

In another article I found online: “Forgetfulness - Tips for the Absentminded,” it gives more tips like for when you lose your train of thought (something I do all too often). The advice?  Don’t freak out. The other person will probably remind you about what you were saying. Probably what I liked best was keep a sense of humor. Maintain a healthy perspective about forgetfulness. Try to laugh about it. And, of course, we all know if we don’t use our brains, they will atrophy.  Gary Small, MD, author of The Memory Bible, advises that we also need to keep physically fit, and eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants. And Zola says challenging oneself by learning new things, reading and taking up hobbies keep the brain active and strong for the long haul. And somewhere in these articles, but I forget where, keeping socially active is important, too.
I believe these are all important, but I also think the older we get the more we have stored in our brains which makes it much harder to access those little bits of facts and memories.  After all your computer only has so much hard drive capacity, why isn’t that true of our brains. But then, I can remember my mom telling me over and over when I was a kid that if my head wasn’t attached I would lose it so maybe I’m just using that thought as an excuse. I did learn though, that if we have the presence of mind to worry about Alzheimer’s, we don’t have it.

What memory problems do you have?


E. B. Davis said...

I love your last line, Gloria. Being aware is healthy. I'm not concerned when I can't think of a name of something like a movie. Years ago, in biology class, I became aware that I wasn't interested in names. All of those Latin classifications bored me. Now when I can't think of a name I know it's because I don't concentrate on names. I can remember the plot of the movie, the characters, and the actors--so what if I can't remember the title.

In my thirties, after having had children, I can remember myself going downstairs to get something only to have forgotten what it was I needed. Staying in the present moment and focusing was a problem when my mind was on the children upstairs. Knowing that such things occurred when I was young makes me worry less now when they occur, such as when I'm doing household chores only to realize I'm plotting murder.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I made a list, but I don’t remember where I put it.

Largely my problems are (1) inattention and (2) I know I knew, but now I don’t.

Like EB, I have never been good with names (although I could memorize lists of anything in school), however, I remembered faces well.

I've discovered I am highly visual , so seeing a place again or a picture I've taken brings with it a flood of memory.

I suppose that means if I go blind, I'm toast.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. I have a sister who can remember the Latin name of the flowers we know, but I can never remember them even when she refers to them by the Latin name. I think it's a matter of not caring enough to memorize them. In fact, she's the one I'll ask about what year our family went to some place camping and she'll remember the year. Not me.

Jim, I make lists on things to do and cross them off when I finish them - long, long lists. One of my sisters once said after reading my list, she needed to lie down and take a nap. I also write on my calendar appointments and even routine things like which Thursday I deliver Mobile Meals - today, in fact. Like you, I might forget the name of a town we'd had lunch in on one of our camping trips, but go through it again years later, I'll remember being there. It's the same with faces. They're familiar to me even if I've forgotten the name of the person.

Marilyn Levinson said...

What a wonderful article, especially for those of us who are older. I often fall asleep watching TV and reading late at night, something I never did. And if someone interrupts me when I'm relating an incident, I often lose track of what I was saying. I know I've plenty of company re all this. Yesterday, while on our way to lunch, my friend and I passed a neighbor in the street. Neither of us could remember her name. The name occurred to my friend while we were eating our lunch. Funny, I still can write books, so the mind's still working.

Gloria Alden said...

Marilyn, yes we read and hear so much about dementia in older people that it's something we do worry about, but you're right that our writing books is reassuring. I know it is for me, as well as writing short stories, poetry and blogs, too.

KM Rockwood said...

I think we all know the three major signs of aging. The first is problems with short term memory..but I forget the other two.

Gloria Alden said...

Funny, KM. I remember when my grandfather was losing his memory, he left my grandmother at a filling station when she went in to use the restroom. He took off in his truck and forgot that grandma had been with him.