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Thanks, ThankYou... Slate... Dual n-back again...

Posted by nootrope , 19 November 2010 · 2,184 views

My membership here expired but someone with the appropriate user name ThankYou bought a couple of months' membership for me. Thanks, ThankYou!

Slate online magazine has been running a series of articles on life extension, aging, and immortality.


I made another try at dual n-back tests, interactive memory tests that are reputed to improve measures of fluid intelligence. The results were interesting: my score shot up a lot faster than it did the first time. I think I was able to recall the "trick" my mind settled on: imagine a snake going through the grid with the letters on its back, and then as each letter is called out, compare with the tail, add it to the head, and consciously try to forget the old tail. Also interesting is that after my score peaked, it fell back a bit. Perhaps I was getting bored with it? Here's a graph comparing my first run last year (asterisks) with my most recent run (+ signs):

Posted Image


Other than that, how are things going in my life--and my attempts to improve things by means of supplements, diet, and exercise?

Well, I got my Dr. to re-prescribe synthroid. My TSH level was 3.3, and 0.5-5.0 is the normal range, but I think I function better with extra thyroid. The 20 years I was on lithium probably had some permanent effects on my thyroid functioning.

I was a little concerned to read here, too, that a popular supplement I've been taking may cause the thyroid to become resistant to Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Carnitine is the problem substance, and it's incorporated into Acetyl L-Carnitine.

I have some good prospects for employment: either tenure-track or part-time. Tenure-track I'd be in the fast lane, but wondering if I have the stamina and energy--and extraversion--to keep up. Part-time I'd have income, no gap on my resume (in the midst of this Great Recession) and while I wouldn't have prestige and lots of disposable income by which to improve and attract attention, I could continue the introverted seeking.

Not sure how well the introverted seeking is working out now though. Sometimes I get a little depressed. I tried cardio workouts of 1-2 hours daily and that helped for a bit. Maybe my mind, at 42, isn't up to making the great intellectual accomplishments I once dreamed about. Maybe the dreaming is fun but the accomplishing is taking more work, or more painful wandering in the dark, than I'd like.

Maybe I just need to nudge myself a bit to see the big picture and work with wisdom and intelligence. Add bacopa back in to the mix of supplements. A July, 2010 placebo controlled double-blind study shows it truly does improve the aging memory, though my memory is certainly not the weak link in my mental processing.

Other supplements: the usual ashwagandha, though I take a week off each month. Schisandra berries. Lots of tea, and one cup of coffee a day usually. A little red wine. Lots of fish with omega-3s (the green tea may counteract possible problems with mercury). Sometimes reishi or cordyceps, but I'm off them for now.

The stray gray hairs in my beard bother me but only a tiny bit--funny reading the excellent blog Inhuman Experiment which seems so well put together and balanced, and yet it spends entry after entry about experiments on supplements to reverse hair-loss. Vanity of vanities, we are a vain species! Too much hair in the wrong places we worry about, and then not enough in the right places. (Not to even mention the obsessions with skin color as a matter of race and then with tanning...) But I do feel a little sense of loss noting the gray: it marks me as being older, though one can't really notice now except from up close.





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