Posted: April 25, 2014
This past Monday, as I arrived in Menomonie to gather the legal news for this week's issue of The Bottom Line, I realized that I forgot to bring my legal news folder. In it contains all of the information I need to pick up the civil and small claims cases from the judicial center. I have not forgotten to bring the legal news folder for at least 15 years. Somehow I had a brain fade.
Earlier this month, I lost my cell phone for the second time in as many weeks. It got me to thinking about "senior moments" and whether at the age of 49 if I am too young to encounter this frustrating occurrence.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that explained how researchers have learned that cognitive functioning, particularly processing speed, peaks at the age of 20 and the brain shrinks as we age. So things like multi-tasking and memory retrieval may take longer.
Psychologists call forgetfulness a buildup of proactive interference. Other researchers in Germany found that the majority of people surveyed about memory loss or distraction had a variation in the so-called dopamine D2 receptor gene, leading to a higher incidence of forgetfulness.
It's weird. I can remember the entire starting lineup for the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1974 but I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday.
There are some hints to finding presumably lost items. For example, one of the best ways to find something is to retrace one's steps. Objects usually don't wander more than about two feet from their original location. To avoid the "senior moment " where you can't remember what you're looking for or can't remember why you walked into a room, murmur what you are looking for three times out loud.
One of the more frustrating things that I experience almost every day is trying to remember where I parked my car. I never park in the same place since parking space is a premium outside my downtown office. Maybe I should find a space and call it my own so I don't look so silly walking around the office building looking for my vehicle.
Losing things is irritating and yet we are forgetful people. Fortunately, I am not alone. A recent study shows that the average person misplaces up to nine items a day, and one-third of the respondents in a poll said they spend an average of 15 minutes each day searching for items.
If only there was a way to even out my dopamine level. Yeah, I know: Exercise. But I keep forgetting to do it.