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October 25, 2007 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-10-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Memory Art

Sharpening awareness.

Suzanne Chessler

Besides calling attention to scientific
research and a number of anonymous
patients, she describes trying out the
athryn Jakobson Ramin, in her
medical approaches recommended by spe-
40s, was scared in a way she had
cialists across the country. The author will
never been before. A busy wife,
discuss her findings at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov.
mother and writer, Ramin
16, at the Jewish Community Center
realized her thinking quickly
in West Bloomfield as part of the
was turning foggy.
56th annual Jewish Book Fair.
Why couldn't she find
She has some good news to
words and phrases that had
report about improvements in
come so easily in the past?
herself and scientific advances. In
What happened to infor-
the course of writing her book, she
mation she had just read?
gladly noted increasing commu-
Where were the kinds of
nication among researchers repre-
appointment notations that
senting different disciplines.
previously stayed clear in her Jakobson R amin
"I feel I got a large part of the way
mental calendar?
toward what I set out to do:' says
Ramin, almost instinctively, resorted
Ramin, 50, who worked nearly five years
to her career training as an investigative
on the project and planned bar mitzvah
reporter to find some answers; and the
celebrations for her two sons in the midst
result is the book Carved in Sand: When
of her writing.
Attention Fails and Memory Fades in
"I go through 10 interventions where I
Midge (HarperCollins; $24.97).
look at every aspect of memory, attention

Special to the Jewish News


and cognition as they relate to the
middle-aged person, most spe-
cifically myself. I am the one who
had the PET scan, saw the thyroid
specialist and experienced two
weeks of neurofeedback."
While Ramin's own problems
and remedies remain central to the
narrative, the book also is based on
some 300 interviews with professionals and
some 300 interviews with people confront-
ing issues related to forgetfulness.
David E. Meyer, a psychology professor
at the University of Michigan, is a nearby
researcher referenced by the author, who
delves into his suggestion about handling
tasks when memory is slipping. Meyer
believes people will have easier times
completing tasks if they are done one at a
time, without venturing midstream into
other responsibilities.
Although Carved in Sand reports no
studies specific to the Jewish population,
the author does see a Jewish connection
personally and culturally.
"I know that Jews are particularly con-
cerned with memory;' she says. "We deal
daily with types of celebrations that dwell

heavily in that realm, and it's
very important to look back, see
who came before us and recall
how life was handled.
"We're talking about all that
we go to services and
read the Talmud, and there are
things that we have a commit-
ment not to forget, certainly the
Ramin's work on memory continues
after the book. The author keeps in touch
with the experts and the patients inter-
viewed, and she now is exploring issues
involving sleep and how they affect brain
functioning. One overriding piece of
advice is that people acknowledge that
they have memory problems so they can
address them promptly.
"I feel that I've become much more strate-
gic, and my family and friends have started
to pick up on what I do:' says Ramin, who
reveals how she has altered her diet, exercise
and social outlook. "I have days where I'm
kicking myself for the things I forget, but
they are very rare now My performance is
much better, and I can get up and address
an audience never using notes."

The Facts About Degenerative Lumbar Stenosis

Degenerative Lumbar Stenosis is a narrowing in the lumbar spinal
canal, a very small space in the lower spine that carries nerves to the
legs. After many years, this space can become even smaller, if the
surrounding bone and tissue begin to grow.

Neural Claudication is relatively easy to diagnose. Physicians can usu-
ally determine if a patient has the condition by asking a battery of
questions. However, special tests and x-rays of the spine are often

Arthritis, falls, accidents and wear and tear on the bones and joints
in the spine also play a part in Stenosis. As the lumbar spinal canal
shrinks, the nerves within it become squeezed and can cause chronic
back and leg pain, as well as leg weakness.

STENOSIS VS. RUPTURED DISC: "Many patients confuse Stenosis
with a ruptured disc," says Dr. Radden. "However, they are not the
same thing." A ruptured (or herniated) disc usually pinches one or two
nerves at a time. The resulting pain, called Sciatica, is caused by a
pinched nerve in the lumbar spine and causes back pain that shoots
down one leg. This pain can happen any time, not just when standing
up or walking.

The pain and weakness associated with Stenosis is usually described
as a burning or prickly feeling which begins in the buttocks and
spreads down to the feet when standing up, walking or exercising.
Unfortunately, many adults suffer from this condition.

OTHER FACTORS: "Legs might also feel cramped, tired, or weak,"
says Dr. Louis Radden, D.O., a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland orthopedic
surgeon. "This usually points to a condition known as Neural Claudi-
cation of the legs. For patients with Stenosis, the Claudication starts
when standing up. Pain may worsen when walking, but will most likely
get better when walking stops."

Also, crouching down or lying in a fetal position has been shown to re-
lieve symptoms, since it's believed that these positions open the lum-
bar canal and take the pressure off the nerves that go to the legs.

6621 W Maple Rd,
West Bloomfield


October 25 • 2007

TREATMENT OPTIONS: Several treatment options are available for
Stenosis and Neural Claudication, depending on the extremity of
symptoms. If the pain is mild and hasn't been present for long, an
exercise or physical therapy program to strengthen back muscles and
improve posture is usually effective. A physician may also prescribe
medication for inflammation in the backbone.

Dr. Radden notes that with severe back pain and Neural Claudication,
however, spinal surgery may be required to take the pressure off the
nerves in the lower spine.


Dr. Louis N. Radden


30055 Northwestern Hwy. Suite 270
Farmington Hills

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