Do You Know Mike?
Mike’s Story Before Joining Brain Tune Up! Protocol
To Mike there were four things Mike valued most in life: His wife, his job, his grandchildren, and his golf game. He had two main jobs during his adult life. For many years he worked for a tractor company, and then more recently he got a job in security for a local hospital. He learned many skills over the years. His wife said he could tear down a bulldozer and put it back together, if necessary. But over time, gradually, she noticed that he had increasing difficulty and showed signs of memory loss. “He mixes things up and almost turns things around,” she said. She noticed unusual changes with his visual tracking. For example, he might read a calendar across, then go down. Or, he might start writing a simple math problem, but put the numbers in odd places. He had difficulty retaining new information. He had problems spelling words. Especially embarrassing was a golf outing with his buddies. He put his shirt on backwards. He hit other people’s golf balls instead of his own. He putted in the wrong direction on the green. His friends did not know anything was wrong until that day.
But they approached his wife and said, “what’s wrong with Mike?”
Mike Existence Had Been On An Invisible Trajectory
Mike’s existence had been on an invisible trajectory. He was comfortable because he “did not know what he did not know.” Sure, he smoked cigarettes and was overweight, and even though his energy level was low by the latter part of the day he thought all this was normal for being the ripe age of 57. But that invisible trajectory met a major roadblock when Mike discovered he could not do his job at the hospital, he had trouble recalling the names of those people who were close to him, and his golf game took a nosedive. (His wife was no match for him on the golf course until things started to deteriorate, then she beat him by 15 strokes.) Challenged with these dramatic life changes Mike went to a neurologist who ordered an MRI of the brain, did standard blood testing, and tested his memory, then gave him the bad news.
The problem with Mike’s brain appeared to be Alzheimer’s disease, and there was no conventional treatment – no surgery or drug – that would fix the problem. He would have to prepare for the worst. He could expect, over time, that he would no longer be able to drive his truck. He would no longer be able to manage his finances. He would become disoriented to his surroundings. He would become completely dependent on others to take care of him. Of course, his job and his golf game were out of the question. Soon, he would not recognize his grandchildren or his wife.
Mike discovered he could not do his job at the hospital. His daily duties were filled with mistakes he typically never would make.
Issue: Memory Recall
Mike struggled to recall names of family members and loved ones he knew for years.
Issue: Problem Solving
Mike could tear down a bulldozer and put it back together, but over time, gradually, he had increasing difficulty performing these tasks.
Issue: Vision Tracking
For example, he might read a calendar across, then go down. Or, he might start writing a simple math problem, but put the numbers in odd places.
Issue: Retaining information
Mike had difficulty retaining new information. He also struggled with spelling words.
Especially embarrassing was a golf outing with his buddies. He put his shirt on backwards. He hit other people’s golf balls instead of his own. He putted in the wrong direction on the green. His friends did not know anything was wrong until that day.
When I met Mike his memory test (15 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment) was one point below the average score for people who are newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. (A lower score is worse.) But, from the beginning Mike had the right mindset. He was determined to get better, and his most important support system was right beside him to give him the daily nudge he would need – his wife. My team and I were there to help, as well.
Would Mike fight the biggest battle of his life and win?
Mike accepted the challenge because, like the hardest race he might ever run, he was able to visualize himself crossing the finish line successfully. We had to take an honest look at how he was doing in terms of the pillars of health:
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and
- Stress Management.
Fortunately, Mike had excellent relationships, but those were deteriorating as he isolated himself because he was embarrassed about his brain function.
With the help of my Brain Tune Up! team we took a deep dive to understand what was going on with the memory loss in Mike’s brain.
- We looked at the levels of different nutrients that were dangerously depleted.
- We looked at hormones, infections, and heavy metals in his body.
- We evaluated his digestive function, healed his gut, and nurtured healthy gut microbes.
- We looked at his ability to make neurotransmitters and connections between brain cells, and even nurtured the growth factor – called BDNF – that helps him make new brain cells from stem cells. In other words, we helped him stimulate neuroplasticity.