August 1st: Our Mental Databases

"Memories, even bittersweet ones, are better than nothing" ~Jennifer L. Armentrout, Onyx

Our memories enable us to remember passwords, to-do lists and names from the distant past. We dip into our stache and pull out information when needed. When that recall stalls, we often panic. Why can't we remember? What is wrong?  "Dementia" and "Alzheimer's" bombard our frontal lobes. With panic and desperation we frantically go through our mental databases. What? Who? Where? Then suddenly the information pops into the forefront. Relief! The worry is put to rest for another day.

My husband has an interesting theory about our mental knowledge. He thinks our brains can only hold so much. When they are full, they act as sieves. Some of the little stuff is forced to leak out in order for our brains to continue to properly function, rather like a release valve. True? Probably not. Interesting philosophy? Maybe. Good excuse for forgetting things? Positively!

For the month of August I have taken up a blogging challenge. I've joined BlogHer's NaBloPoMo with the commitment to blog daily for the month. The theme is mnemonic, which Dictionary.com defines as, "assisting or intended to assist the memory; pertaining to memory." My plan is to dig up those little memories that are clogging up my brain and spit them out in written form. Odd jobs, bad vacations, strange dates, quirky pets, and old friends are cramming up the pages in my mind. I am grateful for all of these memories, even the sad and painful ones, because this means the darkness hasn't yet begun to cloud my mind. Ever since my father passed away from the ravages of Alzheimer's, I often quickly diagnose forgetfulness for dementia. This blogging exercise, much like omega 3 and crossword puzzles, will hopefully increase my brain function. 

Despite all of the research, the human brain is still a mystery. Why do we forget? Why do we remember? How does it really work? Even the most brilliant scientists in the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, intelligence, and linguistics do not know all of the answers. Our brains are the final frontier, and our memories are the worn cowboys who herd the stories.

"The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to ten thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe."
~Michio Kaku