What Elephants Are Teaching Us About Alzheimer’s Disease
The old adage is true: elephants truly do have amazing memories, even into their later years. To illustrate, they’re able to recollect and go back to highly specific locations decades after visiting them, irrespective of age. Exactly what can we glean from elephants that may result in helping us better understand Alzheimer’s disease and to maximize our own cognitive performance later in life?
Remarkably, older elephants’ brains show no buildup of the amyloid plaques some researchers are linking to Alzheimer’s. Even though other health professionals tout the need for sufficient sleep to permit the mind the chance to clean away plaques, elephants are tromping over that theory, sleeping as little as 2 hours daily.
But one factor rises above the rest which may be the main key: socialization. Scientific studies increasingly indicate the link between isolation and cognitive decline, and also the advantage of retaining stable social contacts. Elephants remain socially involved with close family herds for a lifetime, while our human busyness frequently hinders the type of significant, sustained relationships we so desperately need.
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