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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Brainy

It was Super Bowl weekend and local news had an article about repetitive brain injury. The article gave me pause since I have had two bumps to my head, one years ago and one recently. When our daughter was young, I tripped going down the basement stairs. My head broke through the plaster of the side wall and I saw stars. Several weeks ago I tripped on the step into the garage and hit my head on the concrete floor. In both cases my hands were full and I couldn’t save myself, which in itself is dangerous enough. With the exception of a headache, I was lucky in both cases.


Another article spoke about research into woodpecker brains since they slam their heads into trees up to 12,000 times a day. The chemical which accumulates in human brains with Alzheimer’s or neurodegenerative diseases appears to be protective in woodpeckers. Further study is warranted.


So the little birds which attract our attention with their tap, tap, tap on trees, 





could be valuable in the research into some of our most dreaded diseases. 





I will never hear that tap again without a thought for the brain behind it.







36 comments:

  1. Gosh Marie, apart from the pain, it gives the body such a shock when we fall. The trouble is we rush around too quickly, we need to slow down. Interesting about the woodpecker, it makes sense.

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    1. Rushing is the problem for me for sure, PDP.

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  2. I read that article too, fascinating. I hope you got checked out after those head bumps. Lots of talk in the sports world about the dangers of concussion.

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    1. I did not get them checked, Shammi. No nausea etc. was fine the next day.

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  3. I’m glad that you were ok. That’s very scary.

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  4. Sorry to hear about your falls. Always a shock to take a fall of any kind. I have had concussion several times in my younger years with lots of horse riding! Yes more research needed into the woodpecker sounds good. Take care Diane

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    1. Wow. Falls from a horse sound bad, Diane.

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    1. Those little birds are quite something, Joanne.

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  6. That's very interesting information. I too hope that research will lead to hope for dementia sufferers. I also hope they don't have to kill too many woodpeckers to get it. As we age, blows to the head become more problematic, since our brains shrink and then bounce around inside our craniums. :-)

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    1. So true, Jan. Aging makes for more concern!

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  7. Oh my, glad you are ok. Head and brain injuries are scary. I bet there is a lot that can be learned from the woodpecker!

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    1. Head injuries are scary for sure, Jenn.

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  8. Interesting. I have to say I dislike many sports that subject your brain to repeated beatings. It just can't be good.

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    1. Hockey is popular in Canada and head injuries are part of the concern with that sport too, Barbara.

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  9. Wow, you were very lucky there were no serious trauma to your head other than the headaches. My wife tells me to hold on to the railing when walking down stairs holding a bunch of stuff but I never think of falling down. I guess I better think twice now that I'm thinking about it. Woodpecker research could be very valuable with more studies. In the meantime, we all need to be careful!

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    1. We sure do, Bill. Holding the rail is essential!

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  10. Beautiful bird! I know musk oxen, which hit each other in the head in territorial behaviour, are well designed from an evolutionary point of view to absorb the force of that without trauma to their brain. Humans aren't quite as lucky.

    I've only taken a head injury once in a fall, waking up in a hospital wondering where I was.

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    1. Wow. That was quite a knock on the head, William!

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  11. recovering from falls like you have had, can be very difficult. falls, head injuries, very scary. i often think about football players, the hits they take on the field and then the way they hit each other in congratulations!!

    interesting information on our little woodpecker, you captured some great images!!!

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    1. I will never look at the woodpeckers the same way again, Debbie.

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  12. The thing with woodpeckers is they know when the hit is coming and they are also in charge of how hard and how often.

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    1. True, Tabor. Wish we were as flexible.

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  13. By the time a cure is found it will be too late for my mother who no longer recognizes me for more than a few seconds at a time, or so I want to believe.
    Take care.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your Mom’s condition, Catarina. A long goodbye for sure!

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  14. Very interesting! Those woodpeckers. and poor you! Andrea

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  15. You've really raised an entire discussion, Marie, around football brain concussions and other such sports that need changing. I think there's a Netflix movie starring Will Smith that we want to watch, since this is so much in the news these day. If the woodpeckers become part of the study, YAY for Mother Nature stepping in to teach us what we probably already know?!

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    1. Like Jan said, Ginnie. I hope we don’t lose too many woodpeckers to the study.

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  16. What wonderful pictures of that woodpecker! I've wondered how they manage to avoid head injury but didn't get much further than wondering :)

    I'm glad you had no residual effects from the recent fall. It's a dreadful feeling when you know you are about to hit the floor.

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    1. Hitting the concrete was scary though the wall wall the hardest hit, Jenny.

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  17. I'm sorry about your injuries. That's interesting about woodpeckers. Alzheimer's is the disease I'm most terrified of, and the one cause I consistently support. It's always nice to hear about something that may be promising in the treatment of Alzheimer's.

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    1. I imagine in your lifetime, researchers will have solved the problem of Alzheimers, Danielle.

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