by John Yeo
I often wonder if there really is such a thing as atrophy of the brain. The favourite expression when describing the symptoms of mental degeneration is, ‘Use it or Lose it!’ We are advised to put our mental faculties under the utmost pressure, by attempting difficult puzzles and problems. I am reliably informed that new pathways are built in the brain to accommodate the different incoming information.
Marcus Gellby was 79 years of age, a man who had lived a very full life. A leader of men and a captain of industry all his life, he threw himself into everything he was involved in and usually came out smiling. May, his wife was the first to notice the little lapses of memory, the increasing number of times she had to remind him of little things. May would often finish his sentences for him and she was responsible for keeping their appointments diary.
Marcus was in total denial of the possibility of a medical reason for these lapses and just laughed the whole thing off as old age creeping up on him.
Secretly, Marcus was worried enough to be aware that something would have to be done to stem this apparent atrophy of his brain.
He began to stretch himself with word games. Then he began to take supplements that promised to sharpen up the intellect. He watched May’s reactions, to his interactions with her, very carefully, to see if there would be any miraculous change or a rapid improvement. No such luck, he continued to stretch himself however with the puzzles and pills.
One day Marcus heard of a herbal remedy used by gypsies, a drink made up of common woodland plants that promised to regenerate the intellect and reverse the cell degeneration. Marcus caught up with a large family of Romany wanderers and described the potion and then begged to be able to buy some of this miracle elixir. The head of the family introduced Marcus to his Grandmother who agreed to mix the potion and warned Marcus that he would have to take the mixture regularly for the rest of his life. Marcus agreed.
May meanwhile had begun to notice a distinct improvement to Marcus's memory over the next few weeks. Marcus explained this was probably due to the mental exercises and the vitamin tablets he had been taking, Marcus hadn’t mentioned the Gypsy cure at all.
Marcus’s mental faculties began to rapidly improve, he took up Mathematics and Science studies, and undertook a home study degree course when he reached his eightieth birthday.
Marcus had spent a fortune on the gypsy cure, and consumed many brain enhancing vitamins, he was stretching his brain enormously with his studies and a cure of the brain atrophy seemed to have worked.
The billion dollar question was?..........Which area did the improvement come from? Was it even a single factor in Marcus’s combination of remedies? Or was the improvement effected by a combination of them all?
The Atrophy that had seemingly frozen the growth of the old cells, was miraculously stemmed, and a rejuvenation process had begun. Doctors and Scientists employed by various drug manufacturers were very keen to question Marcus and isolate the substance that had effected this remarkable improvement. Marcus who had become quite astute lately, withheld the gypsy potion and quietly contacted the Romany travellers who were shocked at this turn of events, particularly the grandmother.
The head of the family decided to take her to London with some samples and negotiate with several of these drug firms. Strangely when the potion was analysed it seemed to be made up of Nettle juice and Dock leaves.
This was a terrible shock to Marcus as he had paid a lot of money out for the administration of this miracle remedy. It was thought that this had a sort of placebo effect on Marcus as he had believed this remedy was the answer.
There was no final answer to these tantalising questions, Marcus lived to be 103, writing 15 books and becoming a chess grandmaster.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved