So, I was minding my own business, trying to hide a dick candle in the secret gift cupboard above the refrigerator, when suddenly I was ambushed by the pointy metal Fridge Chicken full of desiccated oranges from 2005 that sits atop said refrigerator (see photos). Little fucker beaked me right in the head and left a nasty little goose egg. Or more accurately I guess, a chicken egg.
Photos: The Cause, The Culprit and The Effect
“Great,” I thought, “another head injury to add to my already extensive list of reasons my brain no worky no more.” Then I googled ... (you know nothing good ever comes after those words) ... “how many head injuries does it take to cause dementia” and Dr. Google took me by the hand and guided me on an up close and personalized tour through a litany of the nightmare-inducing Things That Cause Dementia Which I Have No Control Over.
Normally I think trigger warnings are bullshit, but: TRIGGER WARNING. I’m about to share some facts about the causes of dementia that may disturb the shit out of you. If dementia or Alzheimer's is a fear, stop reading and go check out one of my Monthly Moonshine posts – those are full of fun stuff I found on the Interwebs.
If you’re still with me, I suggest an alcoholic or THC-based accompaniment. Here we go …
Totally Unfair Things That Cause Dementia and Are Not Within My Control:
I just found out that people with tinnitus have a 68% increased risk of developing early-onset dementia. WHAT?!?! WHY?!?! Unknown. Researchers believe that tinnitus and dementia may share common generators in the brain, therefore if shit goes south with those generators, you may develop both tinnitus and dementia.
I became aware of having tinnitus when I was six years old when I casually mentioned to a friend, “You know that little pretend ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ sound that’s not really a sound but you can hear it all the time?” … and she did not know. I thought everyone had it since it had always been there for me, but her tilted head and expression of pity and confusion as she backed away told me otherwise.
Some research suggests that having depression earlier in your life is a risk factor for developing dementia later. A Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging study found each depressive episode was associated with a 14% increase in risk for all-cause dementia. Lemme repeat that: a 14% for EACH depressive episode.
THREE: Long Term Antidepressant Use
In a twist of medical fuck-youism, treating that depression with medication may also lead to dementia. According to the University of Regina research, popular SSRI medications, such as Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc., are associated with a twofold increase in the odds of developing some form of cognitive impairment, such as dementia, including Alzheimer's. HOWEVER, another study found the exact opposite effect – a decreased risk of dementia with long-term use of SSRIs.
FOUR: Head Injuries
The kind where you lose consciousness, not just any little goose/chicken egg. Research at the University of Pennsylvania found a history of two or more prior head injuries was associated with over two times increased risk of dementia. I have literally lost count of the number of times I have hit my head hard enough to be briefly knocked out. I remember the time I pulled a tall wooden dresser over on head – that one resulted in an actual concussion. And the time I was helping Adam pull wire in a client’s attic and smacked my head on a beam and woke up in a pile of insulation with Adam yelling “Are you okay?!” over the walkie talkie. And the multiple times I walked into the Kid’s room and got clotheslined by the metal bar Hubby installed across her doorway for her swing/chin-up bar. Why was it at my forehead height instead of at the top of the doorway?! Seems intentional.
I caught a break here. 23 and Me says I only have a 'normal' chance of developing early onset dementia.
Let’s see … a normal chance plus a 68% increase for tinnitus plus a 14% increase for depression (times 4 or 5 major depressive episodes), plus a twofold increase for the anti-depressants (maybe?) plus yet another twofold increase for two or more head injuries with unconsciousness equals …. I don't know. Thank God I can’t do math.
But, before I throw my hands up in defeat and set up an automatic Depends delivery, I did find a few rays of hope.
Totally Effective Dementia Preventions That Are Within My Control But Not to My Liking:
Goddammit. Physical exercise, meaning 20-30 minutes per day of raised heartrate, can improve cognitive ability and is associated with a boost in the hippocampal volume. I was disappointed to learn that ‘hippocampus ‘is the part of your brain that handles declarative memories, spatial relationships, and converts short term memories into long term ones and is not in any way associated with actual hippos. In the 2009 Hamer and Chida study, they found that the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can be lowered by 28% and 45% with physical activity. If you’re lucky enough to have an accommodating bloat of actual hippopotami nearby, swimming or running with them would qualify as physical activity but it would probably get you killed so that sort of negates the dementia prevention benefits.
Psychology Today says people with large social networks are 26% less likely to develop dementia than those with small networks. My entire social network consists of the Hubby, The Kid and her boyfriend. One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health determined that just 10 minutes of daily social interaction is one of the strongest preventative measures against dementia. BUT, “to reap the potential benefits of social interactions, individuals must be engaged and participate in social activities outside the family.” Social activities include sharing meals, conversations, playing games, attending lectures, and exercising. Again with the fucking exercise. I do love family board game night though.
The Alzheimer’s Society website says that a Mediterranean diet -- one rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals, and low in red meat and sugar -- could help reduce dementia risks. I eat avocadoes, so that fulfills the fruit/veggie category, but do you think “cereals” means Cinnamon Toast Crunch? I do love Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
In fact, a nice cold bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch held against the dick candle/Fridge Chicken lump on my forehead sounds quite soothing right now. I’ll give that a try.
PS. If you’d like a fridge chicken of your very own, you know, to store your desiccated oranges — or fresh eggs — try here:
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