August 24th, 2005

Dreamland

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis report that the part of the brain that young people use when daydreaming is the same part of the brain that degenerates in old people with Alzheimer's. What's most striking about the AP wire story is not the news of this discovery, however, but the conclusion to which it is reported to lead. "It suggests the normal brain activity of daydreaming fuels the sequence of events leading to Alzheimer's." I'm not sure whether the researchers themselves would agree to this formulation, but it certainly is a striking one. Searching for the path to long-lived mental acuity? May we suggest a life without hope for a better, different future. The ideological implications are staggering.