Sunday, September 21, 2008

Huperzine A--the first week's report

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was adding yet another supplement to my diet based on a recommendation form Dr. McCleary's book "The Brain Trust Program." Huperzine has a silly name, but apparently inhibits the breakdown of the memory-promoting neurotransmitter acetylcholine, keeps neurons from being excited to death through the influx of too much calcium, and has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well.

So, like an aging Alice in Wonderland, I opened the bottle and swallowed the pill. I fully expected to see no results for 20 some years when I would wake up one morning and not be demented. Whereas one pill made Alice larger and one pill made her small, this pill, completely unexpectedly, made me less anxious. I faced my day and my to-do list not with a tranquilized but rather a tranquil brain. The effect wears off by day's end, but per "The Brain Trust Program," this supplement is to be taken twice daily.

Hmm, this pill could be the new mother's little helper.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wired for fashion

this honorary menopause moment from Edder:

Several years ago my girlfriend and I rode the bus to work downtown. She lived one bus stop before mine and would save me a seat in the morning. In those days I wore suits to work. One morning as I was making the 2 block walk to my stop I noticed people staring after me as I walked by. "I'm lookin' sharp!", I thought as I strode by in my suit, tie and trenchcoat with my bag slung jauntily over my shoulder. I boarded the bus and made my way down the aisle to my saved seat, but before I could sit down my girlfriend said "Wait" and then pulled a wire coat-hanger that was hooked on a belt loop on the back of my trenchcoat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Honorary menopause moment

K. leads a crazy life as a single mother, cleaning our office in the early morning as well as managing another busy facility during the day. As she tossed our trash in the dumpster yesterday, she watched with a sinking heart as her 'smart key' (as in expensive, electronic key to new car) went twirling through space to the bottom of the bin. She donned rubber exam gloves a la crime scene investigation and clambered up a step stool to crawl into the dumpster after that key. Her sister arrived to help as the day began to grow light but ended up no help at all as she became helpless with laughter watching K emerge (with key) from dumpster, a blue shoe on one foot and a black one on the other.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Muffed muffins

This from anonymous:

I was making bran muffins this weekend while thinking of everything else I had to do besides making bran muffins. The batter was pale and sort of runny but I thought that was because I used white flour instead of wheat. I filled the paper cups with batter and it got all over the muffin tin because it was so runny but I finally got them in the oven.

I walked back to the counter to clean up and noticed the bran cereal waiting to be added to the muffins. No wonder the batter was so runny--I'd forgotten to put the bran in. You should try to scrape batter out of paper cups sitting in a hot metal muffin tin. What a mess. I added the bran cereal and put them back in the oven, they turned out dry and hard. Yuck.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Polish off your breakfast!

This menopause moment from Cathy:

A couple years ago I was making breakfast and thought I was spraying PAM into the skillet. It was a yellow colored can just like PAM but I sprayed it with Pledge furniture polish. I never did figure out why the Pledge was on the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In top condition!

I spent last night in a hotel en route to a speaking engagement in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After a long hot bath, I grabbed the tiny bottle of lotion supplied by the hotel. It was wonderfully scented with lemon but oddly slow to work into the skin. This morning as I packed up to leave, I noticed (finally had my reading glasses on) that I'd slathered my skin with hair conditioner.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Huperzine A

I am not (yet) a force in the world of medical information, but I may be a small-sized ripple.

I noted in another blog that the Northfield Harkins Theater in Denver had a dingy lobby and poorly located handicapped parking. Darned if I didn't get free passes and a nice note from their public relations people in Arizona (and p.s., their lobby now looks great!). The Yoga Toes people likewise sent their warm regards when I praised their product, but alas, no free toe contraptions followed.

Most recently, the front woman for The Brain Trust Program commented on a recent article I wrote on overactive bladders . The connection between bladders and brains, perhaps, is that attending to the frequent needs of the one can screw up the cognitive functioning of the other, at least in old people with poor sleep habits. With just a little hint from me, she sent me a free copy of this book for my review.

I pictured that I would speed read this book, order the supplements, implement the behavioral changes, and report back to you. All that is proceeding a bit slower than planned, but I would encourage those of you who have an active interest in preserving your brains to check out this book. At the very least, have a look at Dr. McCleary's web-site, where you can take an amusing but arduous quiz to assess your risk of dementia.

All of which is a long-winded introduction as to where I came across huperzine A, a chinese herb that combines the goodness of Aricept with the punch of Namenda plus a dash of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Now I haven't tried it yet (I already take so many supplements that I sometimes just have to lie down after dinner to accomodate the load of little tablets I've swallowed), but shoot, I'll try anything, just gotta' get around to ordering it.

This extract of chinese club moss is a proven and potent inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that minces up acetylcholine (Ach). Ach is the neurotransmitter molecule that allows the cells in charge of memory formation in the front of your brain to talk to one another and thus form new memories. By slowing down the breakdown of this essential brain chemical, huperzine, like Aricept and Exelon, allows memory centers of the brain to motor on longer and stronger through the aging process.

In addition, huperzine limits the flow of calcium into nerve cells. Calcium influx is a good thing in terms of neuronal function, but too much calcium is toxic. Like Namenda (and Prevagen), huperzine allows in just enough calcium to hold the thought but not enough to strangle the thinker. And like melatonin, huperzine is also an anti-oxidant and a neuroprotective agent.

Now how good is that? Huperzine is currently in Phase II trials as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.