Monday, 22 June 2020
Nick confounded every medic he met. He fitted none of the tentative profiles for Alzheimer's. He wasn't overweight and was physically fit and active all his life. He had never smoked, drank very little and was a dab hand at anything requiring mental alertness such as word games and quizzes. Even in his final weeks doctors seemed to find it hard to believe that he was simply dying of Alzheimer's and kept testing him for other things. So we have to presume that the disease was just random, appalling bad luck - or so I thought.
Enter a new study from University College London earlier this month linking negative thinking with cognitve decline and the development of those horrible, destructive amyloid plaques in the brain.
Well, if there's one thing Nick wasn't good at it was positive thinking. Never a full blown depressive, he had a life long habit of pouring cold water on other people's ideas, habits, enthusiasms and hopes. I spent 50 years trying to jolly him out of it, forever saying "For goodness sake stop being so bloody negative!" and seeking to persuade him to take a glass-half-full view occasionally.
I usually failed. Could his mindset actually have been a factor in his Alzheimer's? We'll never know. But let's all work together to bring this book to fruition because these issues need to be discussed openly a lot more than they are.