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Better Win Now, Vish

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The latest scientific confirmation that my brain is melting.

Men's Reactions Peak at Age 39

This explains everything.

Scientists asked 72 men, ranging in age from 23 to 80, to tap their index fingers as fast as they could for 10 seconds. The researchers also did brain scans to measure in each subject the amount of myelin - a fatty sheath of insulation that coats nerve axons and allows for signaling bursts in our brains.

Both the tapping speed and the amount of myelin was found to decline "with an accelerating trajectory" after age 39.

The rest of the article here. I turned 39 in June. Anand will in December. It doesn't connect this to things that affect mental disciplines, but it should account at least for a drop-off in blitz reflexes. Shouldn't there be a pill for this by now? Melatonin? Gingko biloba? But of course we have Viagra and its ilk in abundance. Typical - worried more about failing below the belt than above the neck. There are probably far more scientists working on solving baldness than on preventing what's inside our skulls from falling apart as we age. Ah vanity, the quicksand of reason.


I noticed that my reflexes started going in one minute blitz on playchess.com about a year ago (turned 41 this year). I've had to move out to two minute chess and then three before I could maintain the same level of results. Interesting...

oh happy birthday Mig!! brain melting, i wonder how melted would Korchnoi's brain by now :D

"Vanity, the quicksand of reason" Great, did you create that, Mig?

Well a problem below the belt also signifies problems with blood circulation (i.e., overall health). I think overall health is more important than slower reflexes.

Also, baldness has been linked to higher rates of heart disease, so once again, curing baldness via hormonal treatments could mean reducing heart disease death rates.

An excellent method to prevent baldness is pre-pubertary castration. Any takers?

"Vanity, the quicksand of reason" - fine, but it doesn't actually mean anything.

Tal won in 1988 the World Blitz Championship.
He was a bald old (51 yr) man, had a kidney missing after surgery, and was a notoriously heavy smoker (+2 packs/day) and drinker.
But he was brave by nature, once in a trip on Adriatica he jumped off the board of the ship because someone doubted his courage to do it ( he did not know to swim).
Growing old is not for sissies.

Let me hazard to guess that there was alcohol involved in Tal's plunge into the sea. (I'm not judging him mind you, for I too have been often fortified with bravery by liquid courage).
Ah vodka, the quicksand of judgment.

Right, Jeff. In general, taking dares shouldn't be viewed as a sign of "daring" (meaning audacity, in the positive sense), but of impaired judgment, whether from alcohol or (in the case of many a teenage boy) an oversupply of hormones.

Tal certainly was daring in the positive sense at the chessboard. But I'd wager the impetus behind his decisions to plunge into a speculative combination always came from inside - not because someone else dared him to.

Segovia tapped his fingers until he was 93 years old. So quitcha whining.

What I want to know is, when does your eye-hand coordination peak? Trying to eat while watching the finish of Kramnik-Anand game 5, I find that I spill most of the food. And I'm 36.

I think the brain is like a muscle that grows (when you are young) as much as you feed it. A youth of idleness and indifference is the prelude to early senility. 50 percent of a lot is much more than 90 percent of very little.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 19, 2008 6:04 PM.

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