An Elephant’s Memory & Alzheimer’s Disease May Have an Interesting Connection
- By: Scott Vanderhoef
- Alzheimer's Disease
The old saying is true: elephants actually do have impressive memories, even into their old age. To illustrate, they are able to recollect and go back to very particular locations years after visiting them, irrespective of age. Just what can we glean from elephants which may lead to improving our own cognitive functioning as we age?
Remarkably, elder elephants’ brains reveal no accumulation of the amyloid plaques many experts are linking to Alzheimer’s. And even though other health professionals tout the necessity for ample sleep to allow the brain the chance to clean away plaques, elephants are stamping over that theory, sleeping less than 2 hours each day.
But one variable rises above the rest that just may be the main key: socialization. Research increasingly points out the connection between isolation and cognitive decline, and the benefit of preserving strong personal contacts. Elephants remain socially involved with close family herds for a lifetime, whereas our human busyness frequently prevents the type of significant, sustained relationships we so desperately require.
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