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I definitely believe the elderly cannot smell well. I once lived in a house with my friend and an elderly woman. We had the upstairs as an apartment and she lived downstairs, but the smell from downstairs bothered me intensely. Actually, my roommate could not smell it either, so....

Anyway, one day Mrs. Van Winkle caught me on my way out the side door. (She would wait at the bottom of the stairs for us.) She wanted to show me the new sweeper her sister had given her for Christmass. I think she was about 85-88 years old at this time.

I patiently stood there and remarked at what a neat thing it was (not), when to my horror, she placed it down on the carpet and started pushing it around -- right on top of a pile of dog poop!!!!

She could not see it or smell it, but she ground it up into a fine powder with her new sweeper (making it impossible to clean out of the carpet now) while I stood there trying not to breathe. I decided to say nothing because she seemed so happy, but I will never forget that moment. I can still see it in my mind clear as day.

Perhaps it was the smell.


It's my understanding that the brain may be aptly described as comprising a paleocortex, basically the part nearest the brain stem, and a neocortex, the large convoluted organ above it. As I recall, the paleocortex is much tougher. It can keep a person alive even when the neocortex is completely out of commission. (Terri Schiavo is an example — I was absolutely against the removal of her feeding tube — which got me severely lambasted by the 'liberal' blogosphere.) This 'old brain' controls the most vital functions, such as breathing (in tandem with the neocortex), the heart-rate, blood pressure, etc. It includes the olfactory bulb, which operates in tandem with the neocortical insula.

The old brain is quite different than the new brain. The old brain is slow because its neural axons lack myelin sheaths, which are fatty cells that surround the neocortex axons, and which dramatically speed up the conduction of impulses. I would guess that all brain activity begins in the paleocortex, which determines the context of all human activity. It calls the shots, and the fast neocortex then processes the relevant activities. The various functions of life are controlled by specific areas of the brain, but these areas differ somewhat among various individuals.

For me, this is a complex situation. Now, suppose a person has a stroke. That means that some spot in their brain has died, and they lose the function that that area performed. I have a theory, which I have discussed with my neurologists at the behavioral neurology clinic at Harvard. I have proposed that my developmental condition is due to a misconnection between my paleocortex and my neocortex. Up until about five years ago, I was completely unable to type. It was just like I had had a stroke, except for one thing. The neurons that were not connected were not dead. So what happened was, they assumed occupations that were unavailable to neurotypical people. I could do incredible things with math theory, etc.

I have lots of 'theories'! For example, I don't think social behavior, which is ultra-complex, is not 'hard-wired' into our brains at all. I think it is compressed, just like a 'ZIP' file, in our genes, and thus useless. So the genes build the brain, and then the brain itself un-zips those compressed files. For some reason, people with developmental conditions have trouble doing that un-zipping. Just my theory.


Beautiful drawing, Elaine.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

The DNA of other parts of the body trigger actions in the brain via 'timing' which causes various actions to begin or cease depending on how much time passes. Namely, we learn faster when young but remember less daily stuff but when we get to a certain age, the genes trigger a change in the chemistry of the brain's interactions with the body and retention of daily data increases while learning drops off very steeply.

Then we accumulate data rather than learning skills until the brain switches that off and goes into a new mode: I suggest this happens because it protects us from worrying about dying? Accidentally, this evolved.

Many humans who don't 'switch' to the new mode of thinking commit suicide because they fear death. This is probably why 'brain dead' people can 'live' so long: they have no fear at all so the body simply runs on and on, all the other gears happily engaged while the thinking mind is totally dead.

Of course, in nature, any slip up leads to instant death. It is only in civilization we see all these 'sleeping beauties' peacefully processing food and naught else.


Man's brain rewired itself, doctors contend
Nerve connections severed in accident nearly 20 years ago

By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times | July 4, 2006




LOS ANGELES -- Terry Wallis awoke from a coma-like state 19 years after tumbling over a guardrail in a pickup truck and falling 25 feet into a dry riverbed. Now doctors armed with some of the latest brain-imaging technology think they may know part of the reason why.


Possible axonal regrowth in late recovery from the minimally conscious state

American Society for Clinical Investigation

Received for publication October 3, 2005, and accepted in revised form April 4, 2006.







We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study 2 patients with traumatic brain injury. The first patient recovered reliable expressive language after 19 years in a minimally conscious state (MCS); the second had remained in MCS for 6 years.


My friend who died of cancer was 'treated at home' by a 'hospice' organization. Since I have hyperlexia, I knew that she needed to be getting potassium in her IV solution, but they refused to do so for weeks on end. She developed aphasia and then fell over and severely injured her head and neck and shoulder. Awful! It took ten days of intensive potassium infusion at a nursing home before she was able to say good-by to her son and me. The hospice networks get billions of dollars from the government to make sure terminal patients 'die on time'., which saves them billions more! People like me, who have developmental conditions, know that we will be next. Most infants with developmental conditions die before leaving the hospital. If the doctors decide you are 'brain dead', 90% of the time they will just let you die, rather than try to save you. This is considered standard practice.

Hitler terminated us first. Terri Schiavo was killed in a Scientology-run hospice. They believe that life is not for the weak. They sue people a the drop of a hat. They always want to let the weak ones die. There is a huge movement among the crippled people to stop them, but the courts, the media ghouls, and the medical establishment make sure you will never hear of it.

Not Dead Yet:

Ordinary people can do the carpentry and plumbing of science and technology. But It's primarily up to those few of us with savant syndrome to lay the foundations. The so-called liberal 'netroots' bashed the living hell out of me when I deplored the removal of Terri's feeding tube. They thought they were being liberal. They were really being fascist dupes.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

I find stories of people who recover from comas interesting. Unfortunately, the prognosis isn't very good for them even if they 'wake up'. Most often, the mental confusion of being 'in the wrong time' overthrows the brain's ability to organize itself and they fade away fast.

There are so few people who recover that it is hard to generalize right now. I know my grandmother, who couldn't walk or talk or anything for many years, suddenly got out of bed and wandered around the nursing home, talking.

Then she died. We still don't understand how that was possible.


My quess is that, if a person laid in bed for years, and then suddenly stood up and walked around, something would go wrong.


Also, I had a marriage that went sour in three years to a woman who's brother was in a coma for about nine months, due to an auto accident, and he came out of it. He was a very nice fellow.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

The shorter the coma, the better the prognosis if they waken. Again, we don't understand how or why.


"As baby boomer born in the middle of the birth surge, I hope we figure out how to keep our joint sanity in old age."

You think we actually have any 'joint sanity' to save? I was born in the mid-50s... and I'd say our generation has been one of the loopier ones on record.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Hooray for us!


I'm getting a new bottle of wine this afternoon! February 19 is Loopy Boomer Day!

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Pour me a glass, Blues!

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Beautiful!!! You truly have an eye for colour.

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He is a good friend that speaks well of us behind our backs.

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Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

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Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.


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