The Other I

November 12, 2013

I might be a genius

Filed under: Growing Old,Just Stuff — theotheri @ 4:41 pm
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I’ve never had a brilliant memory.  I remember discovering in second grade that it was often easier to figure things out than to rely on brute remembering.  I did manage to memorize the multiplication tables up to 12, but Peter can still quote long passages from Shakespeare and poets like W.H. Auden and remembers facts that have passed into oblivion for me.

And these days I’ve noticed I am increasingly searching for lost words.  Being a compulsive researcher, I even contemplated keeping track of just how many words I found myself searching for in a week.  I now sort of wish I had gone through with it, because something interesting has happened.

Lack of vitamin B12 is often a cause of memory loss, particularly as we get older, so a month ago I started to take a vitamin B12 tablet every morning with breakfast.

The question is whether my memory has improved.

I am lacking any hard data on the number of times I am currently searching for lost words.  But I do play various computer  games like Solitaire and Free Cell, which keep track of my win/loss rate.  My Solitaire win rate has gone from 20 to 35%, and I’m winning all 100% of the games on Free Cell.

I know it’s not an intelligence test.

But do you think I might be developing into a genius?

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6 Comments »

  1. like you, i find myself on the search word train and asked about B!2 and like you, i am sure, did some web-crawling. seems as if unless you have pernicious anemia or do not eat meat/fish/dairy you may need a supplement current thought on this by my health care provider who is a no- nonsense-woman said that except for vitamin d for those of us living in the northern areas of the globe, if you eat a balanced diet, supplements are not needed. however she said unlike some other vitamins, there seems to be no negative (is that a double negative???) effects from “over” use of B12 wonder if what you are experiencing is the good old placebo effect

    Comment by kateritek — November 12, 2013 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

    • I’m not sure I can even elevate my improved game scores to the placebo effect. I think it might be something a little more old-fashioned — like paying more attention.

      Seriously, as far as supplements in general are concerned, I’m only in partial agreement. I am adamant that vitamins cannot substitute for a balanced diet. And if I have a choice, I would always get more nutrients in the food in which they were originally sourced, because I strongly suspect that we have evolved to be able to make better use of them when they are taken with all the surrounding nutrients with which they developed.

      Nor do I believe everything that science supposedly says about supplements. I’ve read too many of the original studies, and know too many claims are close to outright fraud.

      Having said that, I do think there is a place for supplements. Sometimes we have a deficiency because the soil in which the food was grown, or which fed the animals which we eat, is deficient. The soil here in Europe, for instance, tends to be deficient in zinc. Sometimes drought, war, or poverty make getting a balanced diet difficult if not impossible, and in such cases, supplements can often help. Lastly, there are diseases which create an unusually large need for a supplement that is difficult to get in a balanced diet. You mention anemia; I have osteoporosis, and it would would be difficult for me to get enough calcium I need throughout the day to keep my bones from deteriorating further. To my doctor’s great surprise, supplements & exercise together are doing that.

      I think that if possible, if one is suffering from some illness, the best thing we can do is to treat research results like intelligent hypotheses, and to try them out. I have found that glucosimine/chondriton supplements, for instance, have almost eliminated my arthritis. It won’t work for everybody, and only a certain sizable dose and manufacturer work for me. Salmon just didn’t do it on its own. But it might for some people.

      PS: Yes, I confess I am not above fiddling my game scores. I’ve discovered that if I’m playing Free Cell and don’t feel like facing the challenge, I can press Ctrl+z, and move all the plays back to start, and then close out, the game will not be recorded at all. Speaking of results approaching fraud…

      But supplements are not miracles. And like good medical care, they do not substitute for a healthy life style.

      Comment by Terry Sissons — November 12, 2013 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  2. ps i have a 100% win rate on free-cell, too, because i reset the statistics as soon as i loose….

    Comment by kateritek — November 12, 2013 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  3. I remember reading many years back about the question of how Hindu Indians get their vitamin B12, since they don’t consume any animal products. The researchers decided it was from the insects in the food they did eat, though of course they never would eat those bugs if they knew they were there.

    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — November 12, 2013 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

    • Wonderful! Talk about not know what’s good for you. Can’t you just hear an Indian mother saying to her child “Eat the bugs, dear. They’re good for you.”

      Comment by theotheri — November 13, 2013 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  4. But at last you are the winner.

    Comment by ProverbsAroundTheWorld — November 16, 2013 @ 2:16 am | Reply


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