Column Contest Winner

Jamie McFarlin

My roommate, Anna Hainze, really enjoys crossword puzzles. So long as I have known her, at any given time there are crossword puzzles on her desk. Sunday mornings, crossword puzzles have become almost a religious practice.
Unlike my roommate, who appears to find a sort of meditative value in completing them on a regular basis, I don’t have a huge amount of interest in or appreciation for crossword puzzles. Consequently, she is less likely than me to have problems with Alzheimer’s later in life.
Currently, there is no surefire cure for Alzheimer’s – a degenerate disease that is especially notorious for dementia and memory loss. There is not a complete understanding of what causes Alzheimer’s either, but there is evidence that it can start surprisingly early in life. There is also evidence that simple mental exercises – cerebral stimulation such as crossword puzzles, practicing writing ambidextrously, and playing chess – can reduce one’s risk. Also, interestingly, scientists from Columbia University conducted a study that suggests a good, active social life reduces the risk as well.
Basically, it is important to keep the mind engaged to maintain verve and vigor as you age. Furthermore, just as diet and exercise are important for the heart, it is essential for the brain as well. (Surprised?)
It makes me sound like my mom to say it, but now really is a good time to at least start educating ourselves about our actions, as college students with a fair amount of freedom and options. There is little reminding us that while both activities are generally relaxing, watching television actually employs the mind less than staring at a wall. Besides that, it’s also just interesting to examine all the neat and sometimes unexpected correlations in life, like the impacts of even minor lifestyle choices. In light of this, some Sunday after a social brunch consider attending Chess Club – they meet in Riverview from 2 to 4 p.m. Or perhaps try a crossword puzzle.