Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part Two

In our continuing series on dementia we present two interviews with Dr. Betty G. Lacy, clinical psychiatrist, based in Ukiah, California, whose focus is the prevention, care and treatment of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time, is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.  

In part one, Dr. Lacy tells the story of Alois Alheimers, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who’s credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which would later be identified as Alzheimer’s disease.  She shares the emotional impact of the personal experiences of her parents, both of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. She and her two siblings each carry the gene called APOE4, which increases a person’s susceptibility to this disease. She explains the benefits of being tested and identifies specific ways to retard and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

In this program, part two, Dr. Lacy shares her personal experiences of caring for her parents with Alzheimer’s. She suggests ways to deal with the changing personality that comes with this disease and how to deal with the stress it brings to family members. 

Dr. Betty Lacy visited the studio of Radio Curious on July 7, 2017, and began part two of our conversation with her description of the changes Alzheimer’s presents to family relationships and dynamics.

The book Betty Lacy recommends is “He Wanted the Moon:  The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him,” by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton. 

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part One

In our continuing series on dementia we visit with Dr. Betty J. Lacy, clinical psychiatrist, based in Ukiah, California, whose focus is the prevention, care and treatment of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.This chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time, is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.

Dr. Lacy tells the story of Alois Alheimers, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who’s credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which would later be identified as Alzheimer’s disease.  

In this, the first of two visits with Dr. Lacy, she shares the emotional impact of the personal experiences of her parents, both of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. She and her two siblings each carry the gene called APOE4, which increases a person’s susceptibility to this disease. She explains the benefits of being tested and identifies specific ways to retard and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

When Betty Lacy visited the studio of Radio Curious on July 7, 2017, we began our conversation with her description of her parents’ conditions and their states of mind.

In part two, Dr. Lacy discusses how to deal with this disease, and provides suggestions for family and friends of a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

The book Betty Lacy recommends is “He Wanted the Moon:  The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him,” by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton.  

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below. 

 

Owen, Adrian Ph.D. — In a Coma and Conscious: Communicating with the Comatose

Approximately 20% of the people who are motionless and locked into a deep coma, wholly unable to move or respond, have a conscious awareness.  This conscious awareness may be determined with the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, commonly called fMRI.  This imaging reveals the increased blood flow to specific areas of the brain when a person focuses on a certain idea or image.

In this program we visit with Adrian Owen, Ph.D., author of Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death. Dr. Owen who thoroughly enjoys neurobiology and his rock and roll band began to develop imaging techniques allowing a conscious person locked in a coma to respond yes or no, to a given question.  Owen is currently the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the Brain and Mind Institute, of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.

As part of our continuing series on dementia, we visited with Dr. Owen from his office in London, Ontario Canada, June 28, 2017.  We began when I asked him to explain the difference between magnetic resonance imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The book Adrian Owen recommends is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

 

Herm, Eric — Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth

From the Radio Curious archives we visit with Eric Herm a 4th generation farmer from Ackerly Texas and author of, “Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth: A Path to Agriculture’s Higher Consciousness.” Herm is transitioning his family farm into an organic farm. He recently returned from a march that began in Baltimore, Maryland, in October, 2011, and ended in front of the White House in Washington D.C. to oppose the use of genetically modified organisms, GMO’s. When we visited with Eric Herm from his farm in Ackerly, Texas on October 24th, 2011 began when I asked him to describe his experience in Washington D.C.

The book that Eric Herm recommends is, “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,” by Wendell Berry.

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The Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin

Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call the theory of evolution? These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published The Origin of the Species, 22 years later in 1853. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.

Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Click here to listen now.

Cohen, Dr. Gene — The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain

 Do people over a certain age necessarily loose mental acuity? According to Dr. Gene Cohen, the answer is “no.”  Dr. Cohen, a psychiatrist and gerontologist has determined that certain genes are activated by experience as we age, allowing our personalities to grow and change. The brain has reserves of strength and agility that compensate for the effects of aging on its other parts.

 Dr. Cohen has found that the information processing in the 60 to 80 year old brain achieves it’s greatest density and reach. He explains these and other developing concepts in brain research in his book, “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.” I spoke with Dr. Cohen in March 2006 from his office on Aging, Health & Humanities, in Washington D.C., where he is the Director. We began our conversation with his description of the importance of the role of creativity on the mind.

 The book Dr. Gene Cohen recommends is “Tuesdays with Morrie: A Young Man, An Old Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson,” by Mitch Albom. 

 This program was originally broadcast on April 18, 2006.

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dr. Alondra Nelson – Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

 

Who we are and where we come from is a crucial question that now we are more able to answer than ever before. The examination and analysis of our individual DNA, in addition to answering a myriad of medical and forensic secrets also reveals the mix of our individual ancestors and the paths they took. This analysis provides significant and untold information about who we are, from where we came and how we may connect with our relatives.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, the Dean of Social Science and professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, in New York City, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Professor Nelson is the author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. She s also the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, which she and I have previously discussed on Radio Curious.

To discuss The Social Life of DNA, Professor Nelson and I visited by phone from her office n New York City, on February 19, 2016. We began by noting that although all human beings are members of the human race, people are grouped by skin color and/or facial features and characterized as being of a different race.

The book she recommends is “Come Out Swinging,” by Lucia Trimbur.

This program was recorded on February 19, 2016.

Click here to begin listening to this episode.

Vertosick, Dr. Frank — Evolutionary Intelligence

In this program we visit concepts of evolution and intelligence, some of which were raised after our series on near term human extinction.

What is intelligence?  What kind of intelligence do non human creatures have?  What are the different levels of intelligence that can be found in single cells, or invertebrates, up to human beings? 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Frank Vertosick, author of “The Genius Within: Discovering the Intelligence of Every Living Thing,” discusses these and other questions about learning among all species.   He talks about the learning that occurs through evolution or alteration of the genetic structure and about the learning, of the way we commonly think of it, by studying or by experience. 

When Dr. Frank Vertosick and I visited by phone from his office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in early October 2002, we began when I asked him to describe the different levels of intelligence and the development of intelligence in invertebrates.

The book Dr. Frank Vertosick recommends is “Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life,” by Albert-Lasio Barabasi.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Bainbridge, Dr. David — Why Women Have Curves

I presume that all of you have, at one time or another, noticed that within the greater animal kingdom, the female of our species has a curvaceous body shape visibly different from the shape of the male homo sapiens.  Why women have curves and how these curves reflect on other aspects of our lives, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. David Bainbridge, Professor of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England and the author of “Curvology:  The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape.” 

When Dr. David Bainbridge and I visited by phone from his home in England on March 6, 2015, I asked him “why is it that female humans are curvy?”

The book Dr. David Bainbridge recommends is “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by I.S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan, published in 1966.  It is a product of a unique international collaboration between a world famous Russian astronomer and a leading American space scientist, presenting a modern discussion of the entire panorama of natural evolution.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Rossi, Ernest — How to Turn On Genes and Reconstruct Your Brain

Psychosocial and cultural genomics is a healing process that connects the mind-body to emotional and physical healing and is our topic in this archived edition of Radio Curious. Our guest is Dr. Ernest Rossi, a practicing psychologist, hypnotherapist and an expert in dreams. Dr. Rossi describes how we humans can activate a specific gene within us to advance our abilities, or recover from an injury.

He suffered a major stroke in the early 2000’s that impaired his speech and movement. Dr. Rossi managed his own recovery using psychosocial and cultural genomics. He and I visited at the 11th Milton Erickson Psychotherapy Congress in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2011. I turned on the recorder and asked Dr. Rossi to explain how gene expression works.

Dr. Ernest Rossi recommends your choice of the 36 books he has authored or edited, some of which may be found at his website.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.