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How old is your brain? October 27, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was recently alarmed to see an article on, I suspect, MSN (I’d assumed it was on RealAge, but was unable to track it) about how you could tell how old your brain was. I was alarmed because the article said that the way to tell how old your brain is (or was it how young your brain is?!) was to see how long you could stand unsupported on one foot.

Now, our friend Ben is one of the most uncoordinated humans God ever placed on earth. The reason I never tried out for “Jeopardy” was that I realized that, no matter how much I knew, I’d never have the coordination to hit the button faster than anyone else. And now they’re telling me that the ability to stand on one leg is the determinant of brain agility? Aaaarrrgghhh!!!!!

If memory serves, you were supposed to try for 45 seconds if you were in your 30s and 30 seconds if you were 40 or over. Of course, despite attempting to ignore the article, eventually our friend Ben succumbed to the challenge. I calculate from this attempt that my brain is roughly 3,500 years old, making me an archaeological treasure if nothing else.

Our friend Ben did have a takeaway from this: If this really is the determinant of brainpower, it’s certainly the best endorsement I’ve ever seen for yoga. As I understand it, yogi adepts could stand on one leg for their entire lives if they chose to do so.

More power to them! Myself, I think I have to go lie down on the sofa now. And Albert, we need to talk. The only thing I’ve ever read about your legs was that you couldn’t manage to wear two matching socks to save your life, not that you stood or hopped around on one leg to prove your brain’s agility. But maybe you were too busy thinking about relativity or the meaning of life or the origin of the universe or something. I’m counting on you to let me know. And while you’re at it, could you put in a good word for poor Pluto? Like my brainpower, it’s recently been officially downsized…



1. Lzyjo - October 27, 2009

3,500? It’s confirmed. OFB is a vampire. Can you tell I’ve been reading Anne Rice?!

Uh-oh, here I thought nobody would ever suspect…

2. Nell Jean - October 27, 2009

Maybe some of us receive old brains at birth. My grandson at age four, asked questions like, “Dad, does this truck have ABS?” When questioned about how he knew such things, he always replied, “My brain tells me.” A four-year-old brain could not have been telling about such things.

Wow Nell Jean, that is SO awesome!!!

3. Daphne Gould - October 27, 2009

That seems like a really silly test. I would guess to make it better you would need a baseline from your 20s to cancel out the clumsy/graceful factor. Then you can always train yourself to do it and mess up the test. I’ve taken yoga, martial arts and now dance over the years and you can really learn balance if you keep at it. I had a friend who practiced balance while she was brushing her teeth every morning. I’m sure you could get your brain younger than 3500 years old too if you practiced at it – well unless you really are a vampire.

Well, ahem, my own hope is that I can still enhance my brainpower without having to simultaneously enhance my balance, Daphne! (Leaving the vampire issue aside for the moment.) Silence assures me that going to Curves really helps her balance, and ditto for dance, aerobics, and etc., and I have zero reason to doubt her. But my own thought is that anything that moves more blood to the brain, from walking and swimming to jogging in place or cycling, combined with continuing to keep an open mind and to learn new things, will keep your brain younger than any amount of standing on one leg!

4. Lzyjo - October 27, 2009

Oh, I totally misunderstood the point! I thought you wanted a high number! LOL! What have I been smoking? Tee hee! Giggles… I agree with Daphne balance is learned, just like you can train yourself not to get dizzy. That’s why I always sucked at skiing!! I also think it had something to do with 1st grade. I was walking on top of a narrow board fence, and I fell off right on my face, and I think it knocked out baby tooth and bled a lot. Very accident prone and generally unbalanced, physically, and possibly mentally. (which has yet to be determined)


5. elephant's eye - October 27, 2009

Going off at a tangent, if “one” has osteoporosis, improving your ability to balance, by practising, is good insurance against falling, and breaking your hip. And today I read that learning to use the internet makes your brain function “younger” – so we are OK!

Even if you don’t have osteoporosis, avoiding falling and breaking your hip is a very good policy, Diana! And yes, I saw the piece about the internet, too. I guess we’re okay on that front at any rate!

6. Mary Delle - October 27, 2009

Great post. I’d no idea that was a way to gauge brain age. I didn’t see article. Just as well. My balance is pretty good, but….

Ha! I’m sure it’s a lot better than mine, Mary! But it could have been worse—they could have asked how long you could hold your breath!

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