I didn't lie to my son when he was growing up, but I did fail to correct him when asked his name and he proudly announced it as Dana GREAT Jim. How on earth could I tell him he was not Great only Grey? He did learn it on his own, not so much later when he learned to read seeming not to have been phased by the difference.
If I knew then what I know now I would have proudly told him that Gray Matters since in the brain it is the gray matter that houses all of the neurons in your brain, so its volume can reflect neuronal health according to Dr. Cyrus Raji.
The news is if people become more active the volumes can increase, can be measured by an MRI and can help protect the brain from cognitive decline. The study investigator, James T. Becker, Ph.D. stated the results strongly support the notion that staying active maintains brain health.
They go on to say that individuals who burned the most calories had larger gray matter volumes in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes of the brain, areas associated with memory, learning and performing complex cognitive tasks. Patients could be put on an exercise program to prevent memory loss.
It was a modified exercise program visiting some bends in FiveMile Creek. The beauty and clarity of the water allowed the rocks below to be seen. The creek appeared to have some nutrients causing the standard dead scum to cover each individual rock and boulder in the creek, but the other problems were also concerning: the missing beach, the rebar showing along and in the creek left by the replacement bridge contractor and his crew. I went to see these bends in the creek with Shirley Giles who has loved this place for the past fifty years.
While we were there I had to take part in a call about the Grand Lake Mercury Study with Laurel Schaider, the principle investigator and Kerry Mandernach from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences about ways to help raise awareness of citizen science projects focused on environmental health topics like our study. What a fitting place to take the call. Officially part of the Grand Lake Watershed the creek is impacted just as all of ours are and is found on the DEQ's list of impaired streams. It is contaminated by non-point source, meaning not from an industrial discharge pipe, but perhaps run-off from fields over applied with manure of some sort. This non-point source loaded this creek with enterococcus bacteria so it's beneficial use is impaired (PBCR): primary body contact / recreation, in other words, swimming in this creek could make you very sick. Knowing this, seeing the beauty and the loss this woman felt for these bends in the creek, and the impact this holds for her and the future use of the stream, left me feeling angry and very sad. Who can love the stream you have to avoid? that you have to fear? Who do you blame? Who and how can this stream and all the others recover?
As we walked on unlevel ground, Shirley led the way with her walking stick, as she kept moving, I am thinking back how her gray matter and mine were increasing! We were staving off dementia and striving to find a way to protect a stream needing its own sort of lifestyle intervention all at the same time, burning calories.
Later that day, more plans were coming together to get even more people to protect themselves from memory loss, by participating in the Recycle Tar Creek Bike Ride on April 23, the day after Earth Day remembering as you will that, everyday is Earth Day.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim