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The work of producing websites on RC flying and the journey of Alzheimer's works my brain as much as actually flying the planes. The difference is that this work fills nearly all of my time between trips tot he flying field and seems to help fend off nightmares as much as forestalling Alzheimer's.
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Exercising My Brain is Paying Unexpected Benefits

Brain-intensive RC flying over powers Vietnam-based nightmares

Text & photo by Tom Hintz

Posted – 5-5-2015


I am confident that the heavy doses of brain labor required to fly and maintain RC airplanes are slowing the advancement of Alzheimer’s. However, I am seeing an unexpected benefit of this same brain work. I have been experiencing almost nightly nightmares that re-run several situations from Vietnam. Making this worse was that one of the medications my doctors prescribe tends to make dreams more vivid or realistic. That turns out to be very true but I have been having these nightmares for 45 years and figured I can deal with the enhanced versions as well.

Recently as the RC flying activities grew more intense as I build the FlyingRC.net web site I have noticed that after a day full of flying, working on the planes or producing the RC related web content I stop waking up in Vietnam for a night or two. Then if I go a few days without the mental work load of the RC effort and the nightmares come right back with the same intensity.

I’m not sure exactly how the mental gymnastics push the nightmares out but it happens every time. If I spend the day at the flying field or producing content the dreams are insignificant or way more relaxed than the nightmares of war. The technology of today’s RC flying means that I am fully engaged to learn the modern systems that keep these planes flying safely. It usually takes me longer to fully understand a new (to me) system but that just adds to the workload on my brain which appears to be resisting the advancement of Alzheimer’s while keeping my brain grounded in the current times rather than reverting back 45 years ago.

I realize that some people will see this RC effort as a ploy to get more toys and there is nothing I can do to counter that kind of mindset. When you look at things from this side, knowing there is nothing to stop the advancement of the disease, finding an activity with a level of benefit that impresses the neurologist, RC flying is a no-brainer. Adding the creation of a web site that will benefit my wife after I am gone dramatically increases the duration of the concentration and quite literally increases the “dose” of what appears to be working against Alzheimer’s and the nightmares.

I know there are lots of researchers trying to find a cure for this disease and there are some promising ideas out there but none that are likely to come along in time for those of us already diagnosed. Until there is some kind of major breakthrough I have to continue with what is working for me now. Every day that I can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s adds another day that I might be around for that breakthrough.

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