Sanjiva Wijesinha -writer and physician

Short stories, Travel and Health Information

Preserving Your Brain


There is an old story about the American man in Washington DC who needed a brain transplant.

 He was told by the famous neurosurgeon he consulted that he would have to go and buy a brain from the medical supplies department, and the surgeon would then be able to transplant that brain inside his head. When the man accordingly went to the Brain Shop to inquire about prices, the manager of the shop showed him three brains that were for sale – one that would cost 10,000 dollars, another costing 20,000 and a third on sale for a 100,000. Puzzled, the man asked why, because all three brains looked alike, was there such a  price difference – whereupon the Brain Shop manager explained that the first brain (costing $10,000) had belonged to a lawyer and the second, which was being sold for twice as much, had belonged to a professor of mathematics.


 “Why then”, asked the man, “is the third brain so much more expensive”?


“Ah” was the answer , “that is because the first two brains were used by their previous owners, so you can pay a second hand price for them. This expensive third brain however is as good as new – it belonged to a politician, so it was hardly ever used!”


 I am sure that you, dear reader, would have heard this story – or some variation thereof – in the past. But it serves to remind us that human brains are meant to be used – and that not exercising one’s brain (even though it may fetch a good second hand price if one were ever able to sell one’s brain) is a sure recipe for losing brain function.


 A recent research study from University College London that regularly assessed the vocabulary, reasoning and memory skills of 7,000 British civil servants over several years found a progressive decline in brain function – 3.6% decline in those aged between 45-49, with a greater decline (between 7.5% and 9.5%) in those aged 65-70. The study showed that this decline in brain function which hitherto was believed to commence only after retirement age (60 plus years) actually commences as early as the mid forties.

Read more in The Sunday Island




This entry was posted on October 7, 2012 by in Uncategorized.

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