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Serving Up the Turkey, with a Side of Hope

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?

It always seems to sneak up on me, although I confess that I’m getting excited about it.

Of course, we’ve all experienced the expected post-meal drowsiness on Thanksgiving. I’ve always been told that it was caused by tryptophan – an amino acid found in turkey.

Turns out, we’ve been kidding ourselves.

Tryptophan can be found in almost any protein, which means our Turkey Day sleepiness is likely just a result of us eating too much in one sitting!

But I’m going somewhere much more interesting with this. Recently, I stumbled upon a study in which Dr. Nicolaas Deutz, professor at the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity, was exploring the potential for tryptophan-enriched diets to improve cognition. He was focused on patients with multiple sclerosis, a disease which he describes as “almost like the brain getting older on its own” wherein “memory problems really look similar to dementia, Parkinson’s and other diseases that affect older people.”

What he found was fascinating. When tryptophan was reduced in participants’ diets, memory and cognition went down. Which begs the question: would an increase have the opposite effect?

His studies continue, as do our hopes for an eventual cure.

In the meantime, I want to pause to recognize this as yet another thing for which to “give thanks.” I’m referring to all of the wildly smart individuals around the world, people like Dr. Deutz, who are working hard to cure all forms of dementia. I’m talking about all of the individual and organizational support out there fueling such cure-focused efforts.

And just think: someday, a cure will be discovered. I have no doubt.

Until that day comes, I am grateful for The Ivey and the support, education, therapies, and friendships that we provide as a whole family solution. I am also very grateful for you, the readers of my blog, and all of your families and friends who receive your unconditional love and attention.

So, let’s rally around the table on Thanksgiving Day next week and enjoy the turkey…and the gravy…and all the fixins…for what they really are – a blessed opportunity stir up old memories and make new ones. Plus, to enjoy friends, family, fellowship, and perhaps just a bit too much food. Blessings to all of you!

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