Ronald Reagan has it. Jonathan Swift, Iris Murdoch, and, most likely, Ralph Waldo Emerson had it too. Alzheimer's disease is on the rise, and scientists predict that up to one hundred million people will develop it in the next fifty years. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Alzheimer's epidemic, and the science of memory. Also, the secrets behind those annoying songs that get stuck in your head.
Journalist David Shenk, author of "The Forgetting," talks with Jim Fleming about Alzheimer's Disease. He says it's an ancient illness afflicting some 5 million Americans, and that the number of cases is sure to rise dramatically as the Baby Boomers age. Also, David Snowdon has been studying the mental processes and brains of a group of nuns. He tells Steve Paulson how "The Nun Study" works, what he's learned about the physical effects on the brain of conditions like Alzheimer's, and how the nuns' personalities influence their outcome. Snowdon's book is "Aging with Grace."SEGMENT 2:
James Kellaris teaches marketing at the University of Cincinnati. He's especially interested in finding out what makes some songs get stuck in listeners' heads. He talks about this universal annoyance with Jim Fleming, and we hear several examples. Also, memory researcher Daniel Schacter has a new book - "The Seven Sins of Memory." He tells Steve Paulson that you can be confident of your memory and still wrong, and explains other tricks our memories play on us.SEGMENT 3:
Svetlana Boym, author of "The Future of Nostalgia," tells Anne Strainchamps that nostalgia was invented in the 17th century and seen as an actual physical condition for the next century of so. People don't think it's a disease anymore, but nostalgia's still going strong. Boym says it's even invaded cyberspace.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-11-11-A.
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