You may not think that photo has anything to do with the brain and aging … (More)

… but that’s because you haven’t read a new study that would have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine if it were actually true.

We all know that gravity takes effect as human organs age. Cheeks become jowls. The backs of the upper arms become vestigal wings. 36-Cs become 36-Longs. And this new study suggests the same thing happens with your brain.

Specifically, a team led by Drs. Wawazzei Oyeah and Alreddi Herdit found that two lobes of the brain – the memoria negotium and the memoria condimentum – gradually slide down through the spinal column until they settle in the coxyx. That process begins in middle age and is usually complete by the mid- to late-50s.

As you may know, the memoria negotium is the part of the brain responsible for short-term task memory, while the memoria condimentum is the brain’s center for storytelling memory.

Drs. Oyeah and Herdit found that both lobes are sensitive to pressure, but in opposite ways. Specifically, the memorium negotium is stimulated by pressure such as body weight while sitting, while the memoria condimentum is suppressed by the same pressure.

“These findings were stronger than we dared hope,” Dr. Oyeah would have said if she actually existed. “Now we know why, as you get older, you get up from your sofa and go to the bedroom and can’t remember why you went, but as soon as you sit back on the sofa you remember you wanted to get your cell phone, which you left on the nightstand.”

“Something like that happened to me while we were compiling our research,” Dr. Herdit would have told his colleague if he weren’t a complete fiction. “It was your birthday and I’d eaten a slice of cake at my desk. I picked up my plate and was on my way to the break room–”

“–You’ve told me this story before,” Oyeah interjected.

“Have I?” Herdit replied.

“Try standing up,” Oyeah suggested.

Herdit stood, shook his head, and smiled. “Oh yes, I have told you that story. Several times, I think. But I haven’t told this squirrel.”

Had he been real, Herdit would have turned to me and continued. “Anyway, I was in the corridor outside our office and thought: ‘I don’t really want another slice of cake.’ So I went back to our office and sat at my desk and then I remembered: ‘I was going to wash my plate and put it in the dish drainer.’ So I had to get up again.”

Drs. Oyeah and Herdit speculate this process may be reversible, but the process would involve spending at least eight hours a day suspended upside down.

“This may explain why Batman never forgets why he went to the Bat Cave,” Oyeah didn’t say. “As a bat-based superhero, he would hang by his feet to sleep, but they never draw that in the comics or film it in the movies.”

“We would test that,” Herdit didn’t add, “but it’s hard to get grant money for nonexistent doctors to study the never-seen or -described sleeping habits of a fictional character.”

Well, I need to finish filming my behind-the-scenes featurette with Ms. Scarlet, so we’re ready for the BPI Awards show later this week.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Good day and good nuts