The other night I did something quite different from my usual habits. I made sure the TV was turned off and the radio silent. Closed the book I was reading.
Then I cranked up my thousand-dollar stereo set with the big floor speakers, the woofer and midrange speakers and the 200-watt tuner. I put on an LP of Dave Brubeck playing “Take Five.”
I sat down and listened through the LP, got up and changed to a Sinatra selection, then played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Nothing unusual there, except there was. I wasn’t reading a book or doing anything except listening to the music. Really listening, following passages and remembering.
Nothing but listening to music. No distractions. Having actually to listen to the music, follow the composer’s ideas. No distractions. Just the music.
And that’s something I haven’t been doing. Many of us, particularly seniors, have the equipment to listen to music. But we don’t do it. We use it as background sound and let it flow, not thinking about what we’re hearing.
We got all these marvelous devices to bring music into our homes, something no other past culture could do. Our library is packed with music on CDs and some LPs. Free for us to enjoy. No other population is history has had this wealth at their fingertips,
My music listening has changed. Yes, sometimes I will use music as background sound. But from here on I’ll listen to the music I’m playing.
Except when I play it too loudly, and my neighbors object.
Which triggered another musical memory. I remember when my family would gather around the upright piano and someone would play and we would all sing. I don’t think many families do that anymore, possibly because the skill of fun piano playing has died out. Too bad.
Prostate cancer update
There remains controversy over the antigen commonly referred to as PSA. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and found in the blood.
A PSA blood test can detect prostate cancer early, but it may not save lives.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend PSA screening, noting that the test may result in “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment.”
To prevent prostate cancer men should enjoy a healthy diet, keeping a healthy weight level, avoid tobacco and exercise regularly. Men who ate less than 14 servings of vegetables a week were 50 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who consumed 28 or more servings.
Smoking heavily seems to increase prostate cancer, with black men facing double the risk of prostate cancer if heavy smokers. Exercise is modestly associated with reduced cancer rate.
Along with a healthy diet and staying physical fit are here’s some negatives:
Being overweight or obese
Having high blood insulin levels
More dietary help:
Cruciferous vegs such as book choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, rutabagas and turnips.
Flaxseed offers lignin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Soy products such as tofu or soy milk.
Coffee and green tea have been shown to reduce risk.
Tomatoes have lycopene that reduces cancer risk.
Meat consumption is a risk, particularly if it is processed meat or cooked over high heat or charcoal.
Excess dairy and calcium increase the risk of prostate cancer.
The use of supplements is not helpful. Better to get the items you need from regular foods. No pills have been shown to benefit the user from prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about PSA and the choices you may want to make. Remember, you will probably die of something else before prostate cancer can do it.
Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.