Neanderthals show us how to fight off Alzheimers (with some help from Jimmy Osmond)

It’s January and the media is full of New Year Resolution tropes. How to Manage your Money better. How to Lose Weight. How to Drink Less. (that’s a bit cheeky from a journalist!) A big favourite this year is how to ward off dementia and Alzheimers, which we found in the Daily Mail. Though why their readership might be interested we cannot imagine. And one of the tips we found in there was: keep your brain alive. Challenge it with new things. So dare we, gentle readers, add our own voice, a sort of friendly suggestion, in this general spirit of helpfulness?

If you really want to keep your brain alive, remember that everything you learned fifty years ago is probably wrong, or at least stands in need of serious revision. Let’s take Neanderthals as an example. Fifty years ago they had a terrible press. Nasty, stupid, primitive and utterly without learning in Sciences or the Liberal Arts was how they came across. The very word “Neanderthal” was used as a term of abuse. To describe the supporters of certain football clubs in South East London, for example. Now all this prejudice has been upended, as this article [1] by Paul Pettitt of The Conversation explains. Alright, there were no galleries, art critics or summer shows. But there was plenty of art for art’s sake, and that’s what really counts. Combine that with the genetic discoveries of the ingenious Dr Paabo and you get the picture of a close relative that was hardly different at all.

What’s true in Paleontology is probably true for most things: Economics. Information Technology, Medicine, anything really. Take music for example, and look at our link to the UK chart from this day in 1973 [2] Did Little Jimmy Osmond really say the last word in music? Do you still listen to Blockbuster by The Sweet? If so, how often? Do your grandchildren, and great grandchildren, greet Wizzard‘s Ball Park Incident with the same enthusiasm as you do? If you really want to keep those old grey cells alive, start by questioning everything you know. And keep going.

[1]https://theconversation.com/neanderthals-the-oldest-art-in-the-world-wasnt-made-by-homo-sapiens-194113?ut

[2] https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/singles-chart/19730114/7501/

#dementia #alzheimers #neanderthal #art #little jimmy osmond

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