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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday-Wednesday September 20-21

Thank you so much for your warm welcome. Most of you liked the 100 words on balance.
 Today I want to share with you two articles from the New York Times, one from the Sunday magazine(nytimes/lives.com) and the other from today's science page(nytimes/science.com). Both tell stories of  women who lost all of their memory, one by a freak accident in which a ceiling fan fell on her head and the other due to an attack of viral encephalitis. What surprised me was their ability to learn new information without regaining old memories. Su Meck lost her memory 23 years ago at age 23 and is now enrolled in college. Lonni Sue Johnson, now 61, became ill in 2007. She is again creating art, differently from the art she produced prior to her illness, but which still retains the freshness and joy of her previous work.
The doctors are now trying to solve the mystery of what parts of the brain are needed for creativity.When my mother had Alzheimer's disease, she was still able to play the piano.That musical ability did not disappear.
It surprises me all the time, not what my husband, who also has Alzheimer's disease, forgets, but what still remains. Even though he has lost so much of what made him who he was, parts of his personality still remain: his interest in tools, in collecting books, many of his fears and prejudices.
The most important quote, for me was the statement by Michael McCloskey, a professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University,
"There is something about your identity that is distinct from memory."
It's hard to name what it is, but I see it every day.

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