Micromorts

“A micromort (from micro- and mortality) is a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of death.” ~ Wikipedia

Yesterday I was reading John McPhee’s excellent book “Draft No. 4“.

Wanting to know more about him, I found a 2017 interview in the NYT, where they reported that he was cycling 15 miles every other day. This at the age of 86.

You have to be in good health to cycle 15 miles, even on the flat. I studied the photos of McPhee and decided he looks remarkably good for his age.

This led me to thinking about my own health — I realised that I need to be more active. Maybe cycling was the answer.

Looking at the Brompton Bicycles website (I’ve had Bromptons before and liked them), I saw that they have a new colour — Cloud Blue — that appeals to me:

As it turns out though, they’re not taking new orders due to high demand, so that was that for now.

Getting back to John McPhee, I discovered that he tore a rotator cuff after falling off his bike. Various other well-known people have been in the press recently having had bicycle accidents.

Being a cautious person, I wanted to quantify the risks of cycling: according to Wikipedia, cycling 10 miles incurs the same risk — one micromort — as travelling 230 miles by car.

However, everything you do has a risk attached to it. I can sit here in my office chair all day today and probably nothing bad will happen. Long-term though, being as inert as I currently am greatly increases my risk of vascular disease, diabetes and other horrors.

So: cycling it is, and never mind the micromorts.

Dementia

A few years ago my mum’s brother, who’s 83, was diagnosed with dementia.

Dementia is quite widespread — it affects about 7% of over-65’s in the UK. It’s definitely on my list of Diseases I Never Want to Get.

Thinking about Alzheimer’s today, I remembered a recent study that found a link between Alzheimer’s and a bacterium called Porphyromonas Gingivalis.

I was thinking that if one half of a married couple developed Alzheimer’s, the other should be at higher risk if the disease is in fact caused by a bug.

A quick Google search turned up this piece of research from 2010. It says that if one half of a married couple develops dementia, the other half is 6 times more likely to develop it than the average person.

Talking about dementia, today I watched a documentary called ‘Dick Johnson is Dead’. It’s about an ageing psychiatrist whose memory is fading.

I found it quite moving: he’s an engaging character who seems to have a cheerful nature. There are many poignant moments.

The piece as a whole is a little quirky: she throws in some fantasy scenes which break up the sad reality of what’s happening to Mister Johnson.

Here’s the trailer: