Before I talk about this misconception, if you’re new to this argument I ask you to go back and start at the beginning by reviewing misconceptions 1-3.  They are described in posts made on October 7th, December 5th, and April 29th.  After you read them, you’re ready for #4!

Misconception 4:  <strong>Cognitive fitness is all about memory.  if you could just fix your memory, you’d be an older-age paragon!</strong>

There is a very strong focus in aging research on understanding the origins of — and on that basis, potentially positively manipulating — a failing memory.  About half of the talks at the NIA-sponsored summit focused on our understanding of memory loss, and its potential neurological rehabilitation (largely through a drug-discovery research path).

Imagine that I COULD completely restore your youthful memory with the snap of my fingers.  Now imagine that your brain can no longer control when you pee or poop, that you are in danger of falling over every time you try to stand up, can’t get up from the floor if you happen to tumble down onto it, are dizzy every time you get up out of bed, can no longer competently drive your car, no longer see anything funny about life or anyone else’s attempt at humor, can no longer taste or enjoy your food, wish people would just leave you alone, struggle to tie your shoes, can’t stay awake through even a half-hour television show, can no longer understand your grand-daughter when she talks fast like she always does, just plain <strong>hurt</strong> for much of every day — or suffer from any one of a thousand OTHER brain-based vicissitudes of life.  Memory is a VERY good thing to have as a neurological asset.  If it is in good shape, lots of other aspects of behavioral performance and control are supported.  A good working memory and delayed recall abilities manifest at least adequately retained perceptual abilities.  It is crucial for continuing personal growth.  At the same time, a good memory CAN (not infrequently, DOES) reside in a totally miserable brain and body.

Even having a GREAT memory cannot assure your independence.  A chap named Stephen Peek had read and eidetically (“photographically”) remembered the chapter, page, verse and sentences from about a thousand books.  Later memorialized in the movie “Rain Man,” his legendary memory did not translate into great personal achievement!  Memory is a great asset only to the extent that it confers understanding, and can be translated into useful thought and action.

A well-designed brain fitness program must consider issues of fitness and health that apply to the WHOLE brain and the WHOLE body.  That is <strong>exactly</strong> what we have been trying to develop in our research, and <strong>exactly</strong> what we are trying to deliver via the complicated suites of training programs that have been (and are being) created by our Posit Science research and development team.