Monday, 29 March 2010


We are off to the north of Texas and my favourite in-laws for Passover. A short hop on a crop-duster and the adorable husband will pick us up at the Austin airport. Apparently the Golf School was a big hit for him and dear son. Then out to the wilds of Texas at Evant, home of adorable husband's brother and his wonderful wife. I love going out there - cats, horses, hills, great food, nice people - what's not to like.

Updates on my return.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Why do we care?

Why do we care about the Sandra Bullock /scandal? I surely did not care about the Tiger Woods fiasco or the peephole book by Andrews about Edwards and his affairs. But I find myself, who wants to know as little as possible about the private lives of actors, really saddened to hear of the betrayal of Ms. Bullock. I don’t know the woman but I always enjoy watching her work and she ‘seems’ a nice person. I was so touched by her comments to her husband after accepting one award when she said that she had never known, until him, what it was like to “have someone who has your back.” Ouch! Then he betrays her in such a public manner. It struck a personal note with me as I did not know that feeling until later in my life and I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to have it betrayed.

When she married the unlikely tattooed Jessie James I loved her comment on the subject during an interview, “You have to love a person’s history when you love the person,” she said. I found that very profound and true. I’m thrilled when anyone finds his or her true love, there’s too little of that going around.

So when the big betrayal (I consider adultery to be treason, what else can you call it?) was publicized I found myself very saddened. Now you know me, I can normally be found over at the New York Times, The Economist, Discover, or SWAT but one of my guilty pleasures is to occasionally click over to to see what the pretty people are wearing – after all, that is their job – to be pretty.

I hate knowing too much about their private lives however as it tends to limit my viewing pleasure. After Tom Cruise went on his Scientology rant and told Brooke Shields that she was handling post partum depression all wrong (I’m sorry - if you don’t have a uterus, you don’t get to make those kind of statements) I can no longer watch the Mission Impossible series and I loved those movies. After Mel Gibson went on his anti-Semitic and anti-anyone but Roman Catholics (and some of those he’s not sure about) will not reach “heaven” rant – it ruled out a slew of movies I had loved. I just prefer the old studio system that kept the actors under wraps and trotted them out for premieres and the occasional serial wedding – thank you Liz.

But for some reason, perhaps it is her choice of roles, or the way she conducts herself in public, or the fact that she has two dogs who are missing limbs that makes me care. I find myself going over to to read what is happening with Ms. Bullock. I’m really pissed at Jessie James and especially that he couldn’t see that he had married up (his last wife was a porn star), and went back to the trailer park. I say that not knowing what kind of person the young woman is – other than the fact that she slept with a married man and now seems intent on cashing in on that fact.

All in all I find it overwhelmingly sad and I send my prayers and good wishes toward Ms. Bullock (I don’t have to know her to do that) no matter what course she decides to take.

Ciao sniff

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Kilogram Isn't What It Used to Be—It's Lighter

Within a high-security, climate-controlled vault in France, the perfect kilogram is getting ever so slightly less massive—and no one knows why.

by Dava Sobel ; DISCOVER Magazine

Sèvres*, France—What I love best about the kilogram is its tangibility, its solid, sculpted form of shiny platinum and iridium. I’m referring to not just any kilogram but the quintessential one that resides here—the actual International Prototype Kilogram, or IPK, created in 1879 as the official standard of mass. It’s a smooth cylinder of alloy, only an inch and a half high and an inch and a half in diameter. Though petite, the IPK is necessarily dense; it weighs 2.2046 pounds. If you went to pick it up, you might think someone had cemented it to the tabletop for a prank. Even if you knew what to expect, its compact heft would still boggle your senses.
Of course, they won’t let you pick it up. They won’t even let you anywhere near it. If you touched it—if you so much as breathed on it—you would change its mass, and then where would we be? That’s why the IPK leads such a sheltered life. It is kept under a triple bell jar inside a temperature- and humidity-controlled vault in a secure room within the Parc de Saint-Cloud enclave of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, or BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures). Thus protected, it reigns over a world’s worth of measurement. Every hill of beans, every lump of coal, every milligram of medication—in short, every quantity of any substance that can be weighed—must be gauged against this object.
The IPK is, in and of itself, the International System of Units’ definition of mass. Through a complex dissemination protocol, the essence of the kilogram is transferred from the IPK to its counterparts at standards laboratories around the world, and from there to centers of industry and scientific research, ending up in grocery stores, post offices, and bathrooms everywhere.
Although I have come to pay my re-spects to the IPK, I am denied even a glimpse of the thing. Nor can I see one of its six official copies, for these reside alongside the prototype in guarded seclusion. I must content myself with replicas —with the working standards that fill the ultraclean laboratory of Richard Davis, an American physicist in Paris who for the past 15 years has headed the Mass Section at the BIPM.
Gloved for work, Davis wears a lab coat over his street clothes, blue paper bootees over his shoes, and a net over his hair. Around him kilogram weights of various shapes and materials sit on colored plates under glass bell jars, like an assortment of fine cheeses. They have been delivered here from other countries to be reckoned in comparison with the IPK.
“That one belongs to Ireland,” Davis says, indicating a stainless-steel kilogram on a red dish. Member states—signatories to the Meter Convention—pay dues to the BIPM that cover the cost of periodic checks on their national reference standards.
It takes a minimum of four days to calibrate a single kilogram according to the BIPM’s cautious regimen of repeated comparison weighings. Visiting kilograms could theoretically go home after a week, but they typically stay in the lab for months, allowing the time it takes them to become thermally stable in their new surroundings, undergo cleaning by the BIPM method, and prove themselves, through repeated trials, to be worthy ambassadors of mass. Given the uncertainty, however minuscule, in every measurement, such repetitions are essential before these national standards can leave with a calibration certificate stating how they compare with the IPK, along with a precise correction factor.
En route to or from Paris, the visiting kilograms disdain ordinary transport. Zeina Jabbour, group leader of Mass & Force at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, recently brought two of the four U.S. kilograms here for calibration. She carried one herself in a specially designed case inside a padded camera bag that was all but handcuffed to her wrist, and she entrusted the other to a colleague who flew on a different plane. (“That way, if something happened to one of us.”) Soon after her flight touched down at Charles de Gaulle, she grabbed a taxi straight to the BIPM on the other side of the city for a handover directly to Davis.
Before picking up a kilogram with a pair of widemouthed forceps called lifters, Davis flicks off suspected specks of dust with a fine-tipped brush. (“My wife paints.”) He has modified the artist’s brush for his purposes by degreasing its fibers and covering its metal ferrule with plastic, “so if you accidentally hit the kilogram, you won’t scratch it.” On a balance precise to 10 decimal places, a scratch counts.
Davis tests the Irish kilogram in a sealed chamber against three BIPM working standards that are also made of stainless steel. He doesn’t weigh it against the platinum-iridium standard, since stainless weights are only one-third as dense, and therefore three times as large, displacing a much greater quantity of air. “You’d have to make an air buoyancy correction that would amount to almost a tenth of a gram,” he explains. “That is huge.”
Although Davis serves as the IPK’s official guardian, even he rarely sees the original prototype, which is too precious and vulnerable to damage to remain in constant use. Over the course of its century-plus lifetime, the IPK has emerged only three times to serve “campaigns” of active duty, most recently in 1988–1992, when it participated in a formal verification of all kilogram prototypes belonging to the 51 Meter Convention member states. On that occasion, however, the IPK itself was found wanting. Despite all the protective protocols and delicate procedures, it had mysteriously changed. No one can say whether the IPK has lost weight (perhaps by the gradual escape of gases trapped inside it from the start) or if most of the prototypes have gained (possibly by accumulating atmospheric contaminants). The difference is approximately 30 micrograms —30 billionths of a kilogram—in a hundred years. (Imagine 30 cents out of a $10 million stack of pennies.)
This alarming show of instability is driving global efforts to redefine the kilogram, so that mass need not depend on the safety or stability of some manufactured item stored in a safe. In fact, more than mass hangs in the balance, for the kilogram is tied to three other base units of the International System of Units (SI), namely the ampere, the mole, and the candela. Several more quantities—including density, force, and pressure—are in turn derived from the kilogram.
Other 19th-century artifacts of measurement have long since been retired in favor of fundamental constants of nature. In 1983, for example, the platinum-iridium bar that described the length of the meter yielded to a new benchmark: A meter is now defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 second (a second being the time it takes an atom of cesium-133 to vacillate 9,192,631,770 times between the two hyperfine levels of its ground state). These figures fail to give the average person any real feel for the quantities in question, but to a metrologist —one who specializes in the science of measurement—such equivalences rooted in physics have the advantage of permanence and reproducibility.
One invariant vying to replace the IPK is Planck’s constant, which could be determined via an experimental device called a watt balance. Alternatively, researchers may successfully express mass in terms of Avogadro’s number (which is tied to the unchanging mass of individual atoms), provided they can count the atoms in a crystal of silicon-28.
But neither of these complex, costly endeavors is likely to yield a new standard in time for the next meeting of the General Conference of Weights and Measures, scheduled for 2011. For now, the International Prototype Kilogram stands firm on metrology’s last frontier.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Technology from unexpected places...

If you think all the latest high tech comes out of Silicon Valley or the concrete canyons of New York City then read this.

The Ushahidi is a small Kenyan-born organization that uses various sources like cell phones as an Internet mapping tool “to allow people anonymously to report violence and other misdeeds.” It began after the disputed election in Kenya in 2007 and the violence that followed. This technology was also used to locate victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chili; and is now being looked at for use in areas like Afghanistan to locate members of the Taliban or insurgents in Iraq.

It works by gathering data (not depending on one sighting or report) and then plotting these on a crisis map. “Ushahidi suggests a new paradigm in humanitarian work. The old paradigm was one-to-many: foreign journalists and aid workers jet in, report on a calamity and dispense aid with whatever data they have. The new paradigm is many-to-many-to-many: victims supply on-the-ground data; a self-organizing mob of global volunteers translates text messages and helps to orchestrate relief; journalists and aid workers use the data to target the response.”

You have to love the 21st century!

“Ushahidi remixes have been used in India to monitor elections; in Africa to report medicine shortages; in the Middle East to collect reports of wartime violence; and in Washington, D.C., where The Washington Post partnered to build a site to map road blockages and the location of available snowplows and blowers.
Think about that. The capital of the sole superpower is deluged with snow, and to whom does its local newspaper turn to help dig out? Kenya.”

It sets a new paradigm of reporting historical events. Always before “history is written by the victors”, now it can be texted by those who are there at the time. Can you imagine if Anne Frank had a cell phone, or the Rwandans had access to texting? Perhaps history will be written from more than one viewpoint from now on? Something to think about…


Friday, 12 March 2010

Food for thought

Drug carrying lingerie models

California legalized Marijuana vs. the DEA that is “too big to fail” Is it possible to halt the progress of such a huge bureaucracy? Is the "War on Drugs" a business or a policy?

All Jewish holidays, except Yom Kippur are about: “You tried to kill us, we won, now we eat.” Quote, the adorable husband.

Is is possible that the power of prayer, meditation, or intent is actually in the supplicant not the deity – the power is in the intention, which equals energy.

In the field, war is always personal.

You never forget the first time you kill someone, like a car crash, it moves in slow motion in your mind, time stops. Once you cross that line it becomes too easy. It’s not your country, not your mother; what you think about is the soldier standing next to you – that is your family.

Israel is one of the best armies in the world because they train to be the “army of the brotherhood”. The U.S. trains on “no man left behind”. Both policies instill unity.

It takes sixty days uninterrupted combat to drive a soldier to psychosis – violence can begin to become addictive; to feel good; soldiers can develop rituals (taking photographs of the dead, taking mementoes). It can lead to atrocities – anger, rage, and hatred - after prolonged, protracted combat. Violence against childhood beliefs are in play. One begins to think of the enemy as an “obstacle” to be removed; not human – it makes it easier to kill. It is difficult to maintain this fiction. Remorse comes later.

China is the largest foreign lender to the United States – what does that mean for our foreign policy decisions? In a July 2009 meeting “Chinese officials asked their American counterparts detailed questions about the health care legislation making its way through Congress. The president’s budget director, Peter R. Orszag, answered most of their questions. But the Chinese were not particularly interested in the “..plan itself but rather their interest lay in how it would affected the deficit.

“Universal religion has been found in societies at every stage of development…. Religion has the hallmarks of an evolved behaviour, meaning that it exists because it was favoured by natural selection….For atheists, it is not a particularly welcome thought that religion evolved because it conferred essential benefits on early human societies and their successors. For believers, it may seem, threatening to think that the mind has been shaped to believe in gods, since the actual existence of the divine may then seem less likely. The idea there is a genetic component to religion doesn’t sit well with atheists or believers.”

Sunday is Pi Day!

Just something to think about over the weekend. Thank you for waiting for me. You can still find my article over at Powder Room Graffiti if you would like to read it.


Monday, 8 March 2010


This was not the planned topic of my post today, but last night my sleep was battered and shredded by my past; and today I am living there. I write this because I know I am not alone in this hellish place and to say to my fellow inmates – it will not pass but it will become bearable.

How do we grasp the reality of loss? How does grief allow us to embrace life but curse every breath we take? Is grief more or less tortuous if you lose a child? A lover? A parent? Does losing more than one child increase your grief by a factor of one per child or is the loss squared or even passed into infinity with the death of each tiny life? When does the pain become a dull ache and you stop the constant bleeding through your eyes, your heart, your skin? How does your mind know every year that this is the month, the week, and the day when your heart was ripped out of your chest? How are you able to listen to those who say, “You have grieved enough, time to get on with your life and let them go?” “He was only an infant”, or “It was just a miscarriage.” Who is the arbiter of how long we grieve? How much we grieve? For whom we grieve?

I find that reality is a complex negotiation between the observers and the observed – that makes reality a unique and individual experience doesn’t it? That makes it possible for the loss to feel as real today as it did over thirty years ago.

March is a difficult month for me. Spring is a painful season that finds me in tears without any observable cause. I have difficulty sleeping. I wake screaming from nightmares. I walk around breathing but only because it is an autonomic response. I eat remorse, I breath sorrow, I hear the cries of my children who are not alive, I see each way my life could have played out – seeking a different course, one where my children live if only I had done something differently. I can still feel the weight of their tiny bodies in my arms, against my breasts, and the iron hand clenching around my heart, squeezing my life out as the heat left their small bodies.

I read a book some years ago by Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking. She wrote it after she had lost both her daughter and then her husband. One person’s experience with grief. I think every story is different. Ms. Didion pours her heart out onto the pages and gives insight into the personal atrocity of finding yourself still alive when your child is dead.

I mourn the loss of my babies but I never regret their lives, no matter how brief their sojourn; that would be to dishonour their presence and the impact they had on the Universe. I have never been able to resolve the guilt. If I had been more careful, if I had chosen another restaurant that day, if I had been more capable physically, if I had been more mature, more knowledgeable, would they be alive today? Women have been having babies since the dawn of time and yet I couldn’t seem to carry one to term, and then when I did, violence took him and his father from me as well.

Is the loss balanced because years later, when my window of opportunity was closing, I gave birth to the most delightful, precious, beautiful creature in the universe? She lived. She flourishes. I am grateful every single day. In the Spring of every year I live in daily terror of losing her.

Last year and this year have been better and yet so much worse because my true love came back into my life. He is a rock of support and understanding when without warning my screams rip apart the night, when I cannot bear to be around his children because they become somehow twisted in my mind and are the child we lost together thirty-five years ago. He holds me while I cry, he reassures me that it will again become bearable, he never says I should be over it by now, he is never jealous that I grieve in part for another man, he tells me over and over that it was not my fault.

I know now it will pass. It passes every year. Some years are worse than others; I don’t know why. I know that each of their spirits continue to exist, if not on this plane of existence then some other. I know that I knew them before and that I shall meet them again. But nonetheless part of my soul remains scoured, hollowed out by loss and seared by sorrow. It is a wound that never heals, a pain that is never gone. It makes me appreciate the joys of my living child. In unguarded moments it takes me with overwhelming terror that something untoward will happen to her; and now that I have the adorable husband back – he has been added to the list of people that I love and could lose.

The joy is worth the fear. The joy is always overpoweringly worth the fear. The fear will recede. The wound will not close but it will recede to a tolerable place – until next year – when it will still be worth it.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Go forth and make me look good...

I have a new article posted at Powder Room Graffiti. Please go read and comment. They pay me money and I like them to think that you all think I am brilliant. Thank you.


Thursday, 4 March 2010


I'm having a sleep deprived EEG today - which means I've had no sleep, but I finished two novels and watched several old movies on HBO last night while not-sleeping. I still love Harrison Ford.

Since my brain is on borrowed time I dare not attempt to be witty, clever, or informative. I'm going instead for pure sympathy. I don't want to do this. I've been dealing with migraine headaches for over a decade now and I've had every diagnostic test offered until I almost glow in the dark, tried every new medication, kept the food diary, listened to idiots tell me I was imagining it, the exercise/sleep diary, didn't eat bacon or red wine, done meditation and yoga, and on and on and on… I watch my intake of narcotics because I don’t’ want my liver to start its own blog. I’ve been through the guilt when my daughter started having them while she was at university – yes they tend to run in families, and yes it felt like it was my fault.

All in all it’s a bitch of a… what? It’s not a disease. It’s not a broken bone, a tumor, an infection. When you tell someone you can’t make it to the appointment, dinner, party, meeting… because you have a headache you can feel the eyebrows going up. It’s a lonely malady because of that. It’s devastating pain but you’re not dying. It’s debilitating but you’re not “sick”. I lied for years, came up with any excuse I could think of other than “headache”. Thank the gods I have the most understanding child in the universe but other than that I cut myself off from society and friends for a very long time.

In the past few years there has been more written about these headaches and more people have come forward who suffer from them. Did you know that much of Alice in Wonderland was in part written from hallucinations during the auras of Carroll’s migraines? I can’t say that I’ve found any great creative material in my particular angst. Pretty much it’s just pain and throwing up my dinner. But I am trying to do my part in getting us migraine sufferers out of the closet.

Telling the truth about the migraines really started when I was in Morocco and began my blog. Because all of you are out “there” I felt free to tell the truth. On days when I couldn’t write I posted that I had a migraine and the response has always been positive and supportive, reinforcing my belief that only the loveliest of people read my blog.

I’m taking this test today because I love my husband. --because my husband is a doctor and just can’t accept that there is nothing to be done but take the pain medications and march through it. -because he’s only had me back for two years and he can’t believe that I have to suffer and he has to watch helplessly. – because I am the eternal optimist and just maybe this doctor, this test… will show something new, something that can be attacked with medication or therapy. But most of all I’m doing it for him. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to be upset with someone who is trying to make you better because he loves you.

After the test I will be sleeping! But then we will be celebrating, as today is a special day in that it is the 18th birthday of my stepdaughter who is a special young woman indeed.

I shall try for witty anon eh? Oh by the by, I’m having an article over at Powder Room Graffiti tomorrow so head over that way please and comment. Since they give me money I like them to think that you all rush right over there when I write something brilliant.


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

How much do I hate this truth? Let me count the ways...

Read it and weep but walk, run, and bend while you do it!

March 2, 2010
Even More Reasons to Get a Move On

“I’m 86 and have walked every day of my life. The public needs to wake up and move.”

“I’m 83 going on 84 years! I find that daily aerobics and walking are fine. But these regimens neglect the rest of the body, and I find the older you get the more attention they need.”

These are two of many comments from readers of my Jan. 12 column on the secrets of successful aging. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a new series of studies prompts me to again review the myriad benefits to body, mind and longevity of regular physical activity for people of all ages.

Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth, and it’s free. What, I’d like to know, will persuade the majority of Americans who remain sedentary to get off their duffs and give their bodies the workout they deserve? My hope is that every new testimonial to the value of exercise will win a few more converts until everyone is doing it.

In a commentary on the new studies, published Jan. 25 in The Archives of Internal Medicine, two geriatricians, Dr. Marco Pahor of the University of Florida and Dr. Jeff Williamson of Winston-Salem, N.C., pointed to “the power of higher levels of physical activity to aid in the prevention of late-life disability owing to either cognitive impairment or physical impairment, separately or together.”

“Physical inactivity,” they wrote, “is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care.”

They noted that it had long been “well established that higher quantities of physical activity have beneficial effects on numerous age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, falls and hip fracture, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, low fitness and obesity, and decreased functional capacity.”

One of the new studies adds mental deterioration, with exercise producing “a significantly reduced risk of cognitive impairment after two years for participants with moderate or high physical activity” who were older than 55 when the study began.

Most early studies demonstrating the benefits of exercise were done with men. Now a raft of recent studies has shown that active women reap comparable rewards.

Research-Based Evidence

Sedentary skeptics are fond of saying that of course exercise is associated with good health as one ages; the people who exercise are healthy to begin with. But studies in which some participants are randomly assigned to a physical activity program and others to a placebo (like simply being advised to exercise) call their bluff. Even less exacting observational studies, like the Nurses’ Health Study, take into account the well-being of participants at enrollment.

Thus, in one of the new studies, Dr. Qi Sun of Harvard School of Public Health and co-authors reported that among the 13,535 nurses who were healthy when they joined the study in 1986, those who reported higher levels of activity in midlife were far more likely to still be healthy a decade or more later at age 70. The study found that physical activity increased the nurses’ chances of remaining healthy regardless of body weight, although those who were both lean and active had “the highest odds of successful survival.”

Taking the benefits of exercise one system at a time, here is what recent studies have shown, including several published in The Archives of Internal Medicine in December.

Cancer. In a review last year of 52 studies of exercise and colon cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis concluded that people who were most active were 21 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who were least active, possibly because activity helps to move waste more quickly through the bowel.

The risk of breast cancer, too, is about 16 percent lower among physically active women, perhaps because exercise reduces tissue exposure to insulin-like growth factor, a known cancer promoter.

Indirectly, exercise may protect postmenopausal women against cancers of the endometrium, pancreas, colon and esophagus, as well as breast cancer, by helping them keep their weight down.

Osteoporosis and fragility. Weak bones and muscles increase the risk of falls and fractures and an inability to perform the tasks of daily life. Weight-bearing aerobic activities like brisk walking and weight training to increase muscle strength can reduce or even reverse bone loss. In one of the new studies, German researchers who randomly assigned women 65 and older to either an 18-month exercise regimen or a wellness program demonstrated that exercise significantly increased bone density and reduced the risk of falls. And at any age, even in people over 100, weight training improves the size and quality of muscles, thus increasing the ability to function independently.

Cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise has long been established as an invaluable protector of the heart and blood vessels. It increases the heart’s ability to work hard, lowers blood pressure and raises blood levels of HDL- cholesterol,which acts as a cleansing agent in arteries. As a result, active individuals of all ages have lower rates of heart attacks and strokes.

Though early studies were conducted only among men, in a 2002 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. JoAnn E. Manson and colleagues found that among 73,743 initially healthy women ages 50 to 79, walking briskly for 30 minutes a day five days a week, as well as more vigorous exercise, substantially reduced the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.

In another study, women who walked at least one hour a day were 40 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walked less than an hour a week.

Diabetes. Moderate activity has been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes even in women of normal weight. A 16-year study of 68,907 initially healthy female nurses found that those who were sedentary had twice the risk of developing diabetes, and those who were both sedentary and obese had 16 times the risk when compared with normal-weight women who were active.

Another study that randomly assigned 3,234 prediabetic men and women to modest physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week) found exercise to be more effective than the drug metformin at preventing full-blown diabetes.

Dementia. As the population continues to age, perhaps the greatest health benefit of regular physical activity will turn out to be its ability to prevent or delay the loss of cognitive functions. The new study of 3,485 healthy men and women older than 55 found that those who were physically active three or more times a week were least likely to become cognitively impaired.

One study conducted in Australia and published in September 2008 in The Journal of the American Medical Association randomly assigned 170 volunteers who reported memory problems to a six-month program of physical activity or health education. A year and a half later, the exercise group showed “a modest improvement in cognition.” Various other studies have confirmed the value of exercise in helping older people maintain useful short-term memory, enabling them to plan, schedule and multitask, as well as store information and use it effectively.

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