welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Friday, July 29, 2011

my story-final answer part three

well do i have alzheimers disease or dont i

remember you can only be definitely diagnosed at brain autopsy
the best that can be done before then is the diagnosis of
probable alzheimers disease

so my diagnosis is early mild cognitive impairment amnestic type
felt to be from probable alzheimers disease

this is based on
medical history of short term memory problems recognized by me
and documented on serial neuropsychological exams
a family history of alzheimers disease
other causes ruled out for memory loss
a positive apoe4/apoe4 gene for alzheimers (50-90% chance)
a low beta amyloid level in spinal fluid

research criteria would classify me as mild cognitive impairment
due to alzhiemers disease of intermediate probability
if i could see my pet scans and if they were positive the diagnosis
would be changed to due to alzhiemers disease of high probability

the new classifications for alzheimers disease are
preclinical-no symptoms
mild cognitive impairment-minimal to mild (thats me)
alzheimers disease-symptoms

these are the new classifications that are used in research only
studies are hoping to classify people earlier than before so
research can be done on these people
so far most research is on full blown alzheimers disease when
it may be too late to do anything

remember medications such as the aricept (donepezil) i am on
only controls symptoms but does nothing to control the disease

the goal is to find someone with no symptoms or minimal
symptoms and get them on a medicine or treatment that will
prevent this disease
thats where all the research is headed

now drugs are being tested and developed to do just that

eg when cholesterol was discovered to be related to arterial
disease drugs such as the statins were developed to treat people
with high cholesterol to prevent arterial disease ie heart attacks
years later

so is the goal for alzheimers research
these tests will be used to identify people early so they can
be started on medication to slow things down or prevent the
disease or to intensify preventative measures as below

when you are diagnosed with it now its too late to treat

on the alzheimers associatioin web site
there are the 7 stages of alzhiemers thats used to get a feel
for where a person is with the disease eg my mother was
in stages 6-7 and my close relative is in stages 4-5
i am in stage 2 of the disease
the stages can go fast or go slow

to get diagnosed you need a
medical history taken
mini mental state exam (mmse) as a screen test-i passed this part
blood work, mri or ct scan to rule out other causes of symptoms
if all are normal and there is still concern then consider a more
involved neuropsychological exam by a psychologist

i chose to get  involved with research and
got a fdg-pet scan of the brain for glucose metabolism and
a beta amyloid pet scan of the brain
got spinal fluid analysis for beta amyloid and tau protein
got genetic testing and
am getting serial neuropsyhological exams

some of these are biomarkers that you will hearing a lot about
in the future and will be used to solidify the diagnosis better while
a person is alive
(100% diagnosis can only made at brain autopsy)
their use is not well defined by medicine yet but will be in the future

what can you do not to get alzheimers disease
in the future medications will be available

there is some evidence that doing those things that are preached to
us when we go to the doctor may make a difference in delaying or
some think may help prevent alzheimers disease

exercise-minimal 30 minutes of walking 5 days a week
diet-mediterannean diet of fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables, low fat diet, olive oil
controlling cholesterol levels
controlling blood pressure
controlling diabetes
maintaining a normal weight
good sleep habits
controlling stress
staying active mentally
treating depression
avoid drug and alcohol abuse
dont smoke

how is this affecting me

i have worried for years that i would get alzheimers disease
because of my strong family history
so ive handled this better because of this worry and because of my
knowledge as a physician and because of my involvement with a
research study and because i keep up closely with whats going on
with alzheimers disease
i have been screened several times for depression and i dont feel

i have made a good income as a physician
my wife she and i have always lived conservatively  and have
saved well for retirement and also have been able to help out
family members at times
we have little debt now
although i had to retire a few  years before i wanted to we are doing
ok financially

i have a disability policy from my work that is suppose to pay if
i am not able to do my specific occupation as a family physician
this was suppose to start paying in april of this year but so far
they are dragging their feet paying off on my disability claim
i have to go to a neuropsychologist next month for an evaluation
(i have had 4 of these in the last 8 months)

its good my wife and i know as we are able to plan our lives now
we know whats coming we just dont know when
we are in the process of updating our will, our power of attorney,
our health care power of attorney, and our living wills
we i think enjoy each other more now
with more urgency i feel the need to make and continue contact
with family and friends and
with more urgency i feel the need to see some of those things i
have not seen or done ie my bucket list

my sons know where i am with all this and we plan to keep them
updated over time

my family members and friends know whats going on as most read
this blog daily
i have been and plan to continue to be open with what ever goes
on in my life with this disease as long as i can

i plan on trying to reach and educate as many people as possible
about this disease

100 % of you will be affected by this disease in some way
it may break our health care system
in the group i worked with they have 250,000 patients
statistically the group should have  3000 patient with this disease

you cant avoid this disease its here for all of us to deal with

make a contribution to fighting this disease and give your
support through my walk to end alzhiemers team
organicgreendoctor.com or support your local walk to end
alzheimers at www.alz.org

coming up for me is my 2nd mri of the research study in 1 week
followed by the 6 month followup visit with the neurologist
an 8 hour neuropsychological exam and
the involvement with another research project making a video
with me as the patient for use by primary care doctors
demonstrating an in office mental neurological evaluation
i will be involved as the patient and also as my experience as
a family doctor

the organicgreen doctor


  1. Doc,
    You’re truly a man among men. Your continued desire to help others even when you are a victim of this horrible disease is uplifting to all those who know you. We will all be with you throughout your journey. May God bless and keep you and your family.

  2. I have two grandmothers that have passed, both in their 90's, with a diagnosis of alzheimers. I find what you are doing brave and inspiring. I also have a fear of the disease. I was once a patient of yours but know of your journey now through my partner, Kerry, who knows you from ARC. Thank you for your blog, I look forward to reading about your path you will be taking to fight this. To a peaceful mind and a healthy heart or visa versa : )

  3. dr
    thanks for the comments and thoughts
    alzheimers research is about to boom in the next few years