Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
11 letter word for ...?
Maybe the New York Times knows what they're doing. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
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Forgetting things can be scary.
Where are my keys?
What time was that important meeting scheduled?
Oh, and... what was the amusing third thing I was going to include on this list?
While I wait for that final item to come to me, let's talk about a promising new study out of Columbia University and Duke University, which suggests there's a simple, common, under-appreciated activity that can help slow memory loss among the people who need it most.
Writing in the journal NEJM Evidence, D.P. Devanand, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Columbia, and Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke, said they recruited 107 volunteers with an average age of 71 and had them either do crossword puzzles or play computer video games (depending on what cohort they were assigned to) over a period of many weeks.
The results? Participants who did crossword puzzles fared much better in terms of memory loss or lack thereof compared to those who played video games, as measured by cognitive tests and changes in brain size (measured with an MRI) over the course of 78 weeks.
"The trifecta of improving cognition, function, and neuroprotection is the Holy Grail for the field," Dr. Doraiswamy said in a press statement, adding that, "[f]urther research to scale brain training as a home-based digital therapeutic for delaying Alzheimer's should be a priority for the field."
Now, I've learned that there are three things that most successful people worry about almost universally:
maintaining their professional success,
nurturing their families, and
holding off old age and health challenges as long as possible.
When it comes to those health challenges, there's a special emphasis on aging and preventing memory loss, which is why I think this study is particularly interesting.
Sure, I suspect a lot of readers might think about doing a crossword puzzle or two after hearing about it, but I also think this sort of unusual study represents something that just about anyone running a business might want to pay attention to.
Our society is graying. In 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans were older than 65; by 2030 the percentage will be 21 percent. By 2035, there will be more older adults in America than kids.
Nearly every single one of those older Americans will worry about getting older and becoming a burden on loved ones. They'll be looking for answers and solutions.
As a result, as soon as I saw this study, my first reaction wasn't to worry about what the future might hold.
Instead it was... wait, what was it?
Just kidding: It was to think about organizations like the New York Times, which bought Wordle earlier this year and has tripled down on all kinds of word-related games, to say nothing of the Times crossword that it's published daily since 1942.
It seems like they know what they're doing.
In business, they say to start with a problem and then come up with a compelling solution. This study sounds to me like it screams from the rooftops: Here's a thing that a growing number of people viscerally fear, along with a promising possible way to combat it.
Gosh, what's the word for that? It's right on the tip of my tongue: 11 letters, I think?. Oh that's right, I remember now: opportunity.
7 other things worth knowing today
I've been behind on the FTX implosion story for several reasons, so I looked for a good one-source summary to share. I think this one is pretty good. "From $26 Billion to Nothing: The Rise and Fall of SBF and FTX. Sam Bankman-Fried’s net worth evaporated this week alongside his businesses—and apparently billions’ worth of customer assets." (Decrypt)
Demand from wealthy Russians looking to flee the country is helping drive a spike in applications for Grenada’s citizenship by investment initiative. For a minimum investment of $150,000 (US), applicants can receive a Grenada passport that allows for visa-free travel to more than 100 destinations, including China, the United Kingdom and Europe. Grenada initially banned Russians from its program in March along with other Caribbean neighbors, but reversed course in June. (Straits Times)
New frontier for Artificial Intelligence: Connecting grieving loved ones with the deceased. Scientists are using tech platforms and virtual reality to create avatars, chatbots and more to help people still mourning. (WashPost)
This is a fascinating and in-depth report of a U.S. Marine judge advocate who got a rural Virginia court to declare him and his wife the adoptive parents of an Afghan orphan, and then, according to a lawsuit, lured the girl and the relatives who had been caring for her to the United States in order to allegedly "kidnap" her. (NYT Gift Article, Fox News)
Jeff Bezos announced he is donating $100 million to singer and philanthropist Dolly Parton for her to give away to the charitable groups she chooses. Bezos shared the news and a short video on Twitter on Saturday of an event at which he and his partner, Lauren Sanchez, gave the 2022 Bezos Courage and Civility award to Parton. (Forbes)
Scientists have discovered that rats are able to perceive the beat of music and bop their heads along to the rhythm – an attribute previously thought to exist only in humans. Researchers at the University of Tokyo played music for 10 rats, fitted with wireless accelerometers to measure their head movement, according to the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. (NY Post)
The NFL played a game in Germany. I wrote about Tom Brady’s reaction afterward for Inc.com, but I also just wanted to share a sort video of 75,000 German fans singing John Denver’s 1971 hit, “Country Roads” at the end of the game, I guess because it felt like a very American song. I’m impressed they knew the words! (Me, on Inc.com)