You Can Call Me “Al…”

By AMWA Journal posted 04-24-2018 16:07


Dominic De Bellis, PhD
Section Editor, AMWA Journal Science Series

As a music lover and musician I remember (key word here!) when Paul Simon’s Graceland album was released on CD (1986, Warner Bros. Records, Inc.). And, yes the play on words with the song title above should become evident as you continue reading. The song title describes “a kind of South African funk/dance groove,” explained Paul Simon in the liner notes to this CD; and it’s a catchy groove too! But, more poignantly for me, it reminds me that remembering this song title, or any other past fact no matter how new or old, is something more precious than we realize.

Let’s take a look at the AMWA Journal archives. Agnella Izzo Matic, PhD, published a 2-part series of articles introducing the Nervous System to readers. Part 1 lays out the features of nervous system communication along with sensory and motor system function. In Part 2, the more systemic aspects of the Autonomic and Central nervous systems are explained within which the memory center of the brain, the hippocampus, is mentioned. It is not new that diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia result in memory loss. Yet understanding the Central Nervous System, and the Limbic system therein, remains an elusive challenge to science and medicine alike.

These 2 articles provide the anatomic basis for nervous system function. I challenge the reader; however, to understand this anatomy and to then push forward into the realm of memory and cognition as these change with normal aging or dementia-type diseases. A deeper understanding of memory loss is needed. Our Journal provides many foundational science and medical articles, yet, we tend to focus on the disease manifestations and work backward toward understanding that dysfunction. Instead, try starting from the underlying anatomy - you might be surprised at just how much you have forgotten. (Have you deciphered my word play...?)

Articles Cited:
Part I - AMWA Journal, 2014, 29(1):3-8.
Part II - AMWA Journal, 2014, 29(2):51-55.