Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ruminating is Good for You

"Tendency for Rumination in Midlife May Decrease Risk
for Dementia Decades Later"
International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease 2008

I read this statement not long ago and stopped to think about it, to ruminate over it, you could say. The doctors at the conference explained that "rumination" refers to the tendency for repetitive thinking over one's problems, and their studies have shown people who do this are less likely to have dementia in their old age.

So, does this mean it's not only OK but preferable to obsess about things? I've always been told to let things go and not hang on to problems. Get over it. Get over yourself. Get a life. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Maybe all of that advice might be good for your heart or your blood pressure, but if you're just keeping yourself alive so your brain can rot later on, I think I'll take the pressured heart. I've seen what Alzheimer's does to people, and if that's what lies ahead for people who don't "ruminate," then I'd prefer to be one of those people who obsesses and rehashes and beats a dead horse.

I'm not sure what the correlation is between ruminating and fending off dementia, and I don't think the doctors conducting the study know either. It could be as simple as exercising the brain and keeping all the signals firing. A brain at rest may be a brain susceptible to forming plaque. But a brain in motion keeps the cogs well-oiled and fully functioning. That's just my guess.

Every year or so, someone comes out with results from a study and says "this is how you prevent Alzheimer's." They used to tell us not to cook with aluminum pans, but they don't say that anymore. They used to say to load up on vitamin E, but I watched my father take a huge pill every single day, and it did him no good at all. It's possible a study will be published next week or next year telling us not to eat red things or not to sleep with the window open or not to ruminate after all.

Until then, I think we all have license to obsess and think and rethink every issue that plagues us. The next time someone tells you to relax and stop overthinking, you can tell them their brain cells are taking on a new shape as they speak, and when they're old, they'll wish they had spent more time ruminating.


Rich said...

Get a life,Robyn!!

Rich said...

hee hee

Maria said...

Every night when I go to bed, I always go over my day and then tick off a list in my head of chores to attend to the next day. I can't sleep until I do this. is nice to know that I have a good chance of sidestepping AZ. Until they decide that people who drink diet Sprite are more prone to get it or something.

I had heard the aluminum pot thing too...but Bing cooks mostly with cast iron pots...and I am sure that can't be good for us...

dive said...

Mum always tells me I think too much. She has this weird idea that if I do too much thinking I'll use my brain up and there won't be any left for later.
Actually, she could be right.

lynn said...

I think a lot too, going over things happened, things I have to do, could have done differently, how to change, yes I'm that sort for sure.

This is interesting. Apparently, doing things like crosswords, sudoko and hand held games like the 'block game' I call it, are all supposed to help in avoiding Altzeimer's later in life. My mother is an avid viewer of general knowledge quiz games on tv (she's very good)and apparently this is good too. It would seem, with your info here, that increased brain activity is key. Now where's that Sudoku - it's my day off....