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Cognitive Decline

rk (6314) writes | more than 2 years ago

User Journal 8

So on the main page, there was a story about cognitive decline starting as early as 45. As a 44-year-old, I can testify personally that it starts much sooner than that, though it's in baby steps.

So on the main page, there was a story about cognitive decline starting as early as 45. As a 44-year-old, I can testify personally that it starts much sooner than that, though it's in baby steps.

There's nothing I can't do now that I couldn't do when I was 20, but it's somehow different. Learning new things requires a little more effort on my part, and it takes a little more time. Nothing too onerous, but it's certainly a change. I'm still a sponge for new knowledge and skills, but where I used to be a dry sponge, I'm a fairly damp sponge.

What about you?

ps - It took me 10 minutes to find how to write in my journal. Is that due to cognitive decline, or the stupid interface that puts the "Write in Journal" only at the bottom of my list of journals, completely breaking the temporal organization of the page? Presumably, any journal I wish to write now will be more recent than any journals I've already posted, at least until I perfect that time-traveling web browser I've been working on (homepage set to powerball.com, natch).

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8 comments

Started about 35 for me (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38644344)

About the same time my tolerance to large amounts of alcohol went away. I'm not sure there is a link, though I have also been sleeping more (need about 10 hours when I only have time for 8 on a normal basis) as well.

Writing in your journal though- they changed the interface on us old timers a couple of years back - and they keep messing with itl.

I wouldn't worry (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38644558)

The most easily accessed memory storage pathways for storing the holographic biochemical engrams are used first.

Even though they act as the boot code of your language skills, you can't really remember what you learned until you were two, because you lack the translation software, since that is what it was storing.

Later memories use less prime "locations" and access becomes more difficult.

Think of it as a warehouse full of CDs and DVDs, filed mostly without organization. When young, there aren't as many CDs.

Hmm (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38644682)

Right now for me (age 37), I'm finding my mental faculties pretty much the same. However, my body's definitely giving out in subtle ways. I hadn't realized how much I relied, day to day, on my above average size, strength and resistance to damage. Especially as I'm a keen DIY enthusiast, It's going to really suck when I can't "cheat" anymore and have to actually have other people help me out on jobs I would have easily managed by myself in the past.

Re:Hmm (1)

rk (6314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646334)

I'm the same way physically. I can do the same physical tasks I used to, but I pay for it more, and for a longer time. Case in point: I dug a few post holes on Saturday, and the soreness started in my back and shoulders that night and is still ongoing. I can pretty much tune it out, especially if I'm occupied, and it never even rose to the level of taking any sort of pain killers, but when I was younger, I might have had some soreness the next morning that would've fizzled out by late afternoon. It's 48 hours and counting, and I guess I've probably got another day of it.

I also carried 80 pound bags of concrete, and that's harder than it used to be. :-) My first job when I was young was on a crew doing a shopping center remodel, and a good chunk of my job was taking 100 pound I-beam segments and throwing them down a waste chute. I don't think I could do that now, at least not without REALLY paying for it.

yeah (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649462)

turned 43 on Saturday - but it's been going on for a while. I have a harder time figuring things out. I have a larger set of experience to draw on - so that compensates some. But learning new stuff takes a lot more work. I'm glad I live in the future where I can have so many mental crutches.

As for physically - forget it. I'm a mess and have been for a long time. Bought reading glasses a few weeks ago.

Re:yeah (1)

rk (6314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655314)

Well if we're going to drag vision into it, mine's been shot since I was 11. :-) I'm about 20/400 in each eye. I got contacts a couple years back, to find that when I wear contacts, I need... READING glasses. Sort of defeats the point of wearing contacts in the first place, so I'm back to glasses again. I find I take my glasses off more and more for close-up work, so bifocals are not far off... at least until I can get that lens replacement mcgrew had done. :-)

subject (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38650842)

It took me 10 minutes to find how to write in my journal. Is that due to cognitive decline, or the stupid interface that puts the "Write in Journal" only at the bottom of my list of journals, completely breaking the temporal organization of the page?

It isn't you, it's slashdot. What's worse is it looks completely different at work on IE7, on the notebook with FF on Win7, and that's even different than FF on kubuntu.

I'd hate to be the guy who was supposed to keep all that code straight.

As to the getting older, I really haven't noticed any decline at all until recently, and I'll be 60 this year. Physically, though, I'm strating to get pretty wrinkled and my muscle tone has gone to hell.

I do have a few DOH! moments, but they're mostly because I was too damned sure of myself (I never was like that when I was young) and not paying strict attention.

Dang, ... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661782)

...there sure are a lot of old farts around here. I'm 45 and haven't lost a thing. Maybe it's cuz I'm in programming, and it's constant learning/relearning.

I'm the same as I've been all my life -- new computer languages and things tech quickly find an orderly place in my mind, but learning the business and problem domain and terminology etc. of a given employer's has always taken me *much* longer than most.

I recently retrained in C# and .NET in this economic downturn, and sailed through it easily, esp. compared to classmates. That was a lot like what I already knew (C++), but most recently it's been modern JavaScript and jQuery, which can be quite a strange beast compared to conventional languages, and I just ate it up and loved it.

But at work I was given a huge legacy product to convert from classic ASP to ASP.NET, and I still know really nothing about the problem domain, and there were no specs or docs, including basically no code comments, and it took me *forever* to identify the categories and axes and relationships etc. and make heads or tails of it. Plus the screens morph depending on two mutually exclusive factors, or modes, that I had to figure out through osmosis.

But then I remember at my very first job out of college it taking me literally two full days to grok a single (long) function in their code. I mapped that bitch out and continued adding new dimensions of insight as I gleaned them, until I felt I had a decent grip on just all of WTF it did. One effing function.

YMMV, but the mind is a muscle so it helps if you keep it highly conditioned. I lost a bunch of weight last year and I think a fair portion of it was muscle mass, so my body is in no top shape, but haven't noticed any mental slippage that's new. (Like I still can't remember peoples' names, but then I've always been embarassed by that.) I guess I'm a geek.

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