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The Broken Puzzle: Alzheimer’s & The Brain

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by stormvisions
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I’ve been thinking a bit more about how the brain works. I mentioned previously that it seems that for the most part our brains don’t react to the world, so much as react to a model of the world. Well, as I considered this further, I realized it is more likely that instead of a large rigid model of the world, we have multiple chunks of ‘pre-processed data’. Partial models.

I imagine it like this; our world, reality, is like a huge puzzle. No picture on the box. When you open it, you have 100,000 puzzle pieces. Reacting to our world, to all of the stimuli and data in realtime requires a huge amount of processing power. We would not survive our first encounter with danger, or be able to make decisions in a reasonable way if we had to comb through the individual pieces of the puzzle, determine where it fit into the overall picture, and how we should react each time we received new information via our senses.

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What if instead we pre-assemble chunks of the puzzle from the moment we are born? We learn new things and are taught new things that allow us to have enough chunks of the puzzle built and loosely laid out to make a reasonable guess as to the area a piece may fit in. This is much more efficient and flexible.

My musing today is a ‘what if?’ What if Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps other types of dementia, are a breakdown of these chunks of pre-processed data? Or perhaps of the system or ‘index’ that can make that quick ‘this piece fits here’ determination? So I am wondering if the disease breaks up the parts of the puzzle we have solved destroying the relationship. Then when they try to process that flood of input again they are unable to easily process the world in an efficient way.

I’m not a scientist, so this is just my creative brain asking questions.