Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Connection Between How You Write and Alzheimer's?

An amazing look at the possible signs of future Alzheimer’s disease in one’s writing.

Here's an example of a sentence packed with ideas, from the one of the sister's diaries:

"It was about a half hour before midnight between February 28 and 29 of the leap year 1912 when I began to live, and to die, as the third child of my mother, whose maiden name is Hilda Hoffman, and my father, Otto Schmidt..."

And here's an example of less idea-rich sentence:

"I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on May 24, 1913, and was baptized in St. James Church..."

Snowdon discovered that sisters who scored poorly on these two measures — like the second example — were much more likely to develop dementia. Sisters within the lower third of the sample with respect to idea density, for example, were 60 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than a sister in the upper third. In fact, using the essays, the researchers could predict with 92 percent accuracy whether the brain of a particular sister, investigated after their death, would contain the plaques and lesions in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

Should I feel a bit relieved that I tend to fall into the idea-rich category in my writing?

"Agatha Christie And Nuns Tell A Tale Of Alzheimer's" (NPR)


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