"Art opens the mind," said Dr. Luis Fornazzari, neurological consultant at St. Michael's Hospital's Memory Clinic and lead author of a paper about Hecht. "Mary Hecht was a remarkable example of how artistic abilities are preserved in spite of the degeneration of the brain and a loss in the more mundane, day-to-day memory functions."
According to the news release from St. Michael's Hospital, "Dr. Fornazzari previously wrote a paper detailing a musician who, despite declining health because of Alzheimer's disease, could still play the piano and learn new music. As well, in October 2011, Dr. Fischer and colleagues looked at bilingual patients with Alzheimer's and discovered they had twice as much cognitive reserve as their unilingual counterparts."
My own mother has lost her ability to do pretty much everything that gave her pleasure: simple knitting, sewing, baking, gardening, and playing cards. But she did have a brief flourish of painting in oils about 20 years ago. I'm going to visit her soon and I'll bring along some paints. And as for my personal development, this news will hopefully prompt me to get off my left brain butt (I know, that metaphor doesn't hold any longer) and learn Spanish or get back into writing poetry.
Copyright 2014, Paddy Kamen. All rights reserved.