You don’t have to be a midlife baby boomer to experience mental lapses, but it helps.
What can you do? Is there a magic pill? We’re not talking about stimulants, such as caffeine or amphetamines. These have temporary effects and may just make forgetting faster. You want something that will enhance or restore your aging baby boomer gray matter.
So-called booster pills fall into two categories: natural and what you get from your neighborhood pharmacist. Scientists aren’t sure if they work or how they work.
Ginkgo biloba is the best known herbal substance, but there are many more, including cocktails marketed as Constant Focus, Lucidal and other Madison Avenue labels. Evidence suggests that ginkgo can treat Alzheimer’s or general mental decline, and is widely used in Europe for that purpose. In the U.S., herbs are regarded as dietary supplements, thus less regulated by the FDA than “drugs.”
Two hundred years ago, Goethe was writing odes to Ginkgo Biloba
Those “drugs,” like Ritalin, Adderall, and Provigil, are used for specific medical conditions. But both young and old are popping them for “cognitive enhancement.” Provigil (generic modafinil) is said to have a dedicated following in Silicon Valley. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they stimulate focus, concentration and memory. Even if true, is it any more than a temporary condition, leading to habitual use? Is it safe? Are there side effects? Is it steroids for the brain? Do users care?
What about brain exercises? There’s insufficient evidence to prove long-term enhancement, but common sense suggests it should help. Millions pursue a mental fitness regimen. There’s plenty of choice. For a modest subscription you can join Lumosity and play on-line games that claim to increase memory and problem solving abilities. Just like physical fitness, it requires consistency and dedication. Nintendo’s Brain Age and Big Brain Academy are best sellers.
If nothing else, brain fitness may keep you where you are, based on the “use it or lose it” theory. Old fashioned games like chess and crossword puzzles are great mind-sharpeners.
There’s another aspect of brain improvement – technological enhancement. You may regard this as science fiction. We are living longer and technology is advancing faster. That future is just around the corner, and most baby boomers will live to participate. It’s called “transhumanism.” Google it.
Baby Boomer Notable Quotables
When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day. ~Marty Bucella, cartoonist
The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion. ~Doris Lessing, novelist
You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again. ~Bonnie Prudden, fitness guru
Read more about herbal supplements: Natural Brain Boosters