Brain Trauma: Finding The Right Recovery, with Josh Perry

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

BMXer Josh Perry knows a few things about brain trauma, having experienced multiple concussions, some of which had resulted in loss of consciousness and even seizures. But while Josh has done many bad things to his brain in the past, he’s now become a brain warrior and is constantly taking action to improve the function of his brain. In the third episode of a series on brain injuries, Josh tells Daniel and Tana Amen how he found his personal roadmap to recovery.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Welcome back. We are back with Josh Perry, our BMX racer ... well, trick rider, actually, and brain cancer survivor and what a story. This has been a fantastic story, Josh, and I love this. We want to start with a question, and a challenge, for our listeners, and our viewers. We want you to post, if you will, what brain challenges have you had, and what have you been ... let's say ... I don't want to say feeling sorry for yourself about, but what have you been struggling with? Let's put it that way.
I certainly struggled in the past with having cancer. You certainly struggled when you first heard about cancer. But you have been such a warrior in turning it around, and I want to hear, what have you guys been struggling with, and what can you do to make it better? So at the end, post that for us. You can tag us, or you can go to, and we'll read that out loud, and we'll read your questions.
But welcome back, Josh. This has just been a fantastic story, so ... Yeah, you want to talk about-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Before we jump in, last night three of our five grandchildren came over to the house, and Haven just turned one. Haven is now walking. But, in the process of walking, every seven, eight, maybe ten steps, she falls on her butt. She doesn't get discouraged-
Tana Amen: No, she laughs.
Dr. Daniel Amen: -by falling on her butt, she laughs, and then she gets back up. I imagine, in learning to be a world class BMXer, falling is part of it. When you learn, when you fall it's not failure, as you were saying in martial arts, it's just part of the process. And to see her giggle, and just be so happy with herself-
Tana Amen: Because she's learning every time she does it, what to do better next time. Yeah, it's great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Big lessons from your experience. I love that you went to IIN. It's called the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I'm one of the teachers. It's really a great course to teach people that food is medicine, or it's poison.
Tana Amen: Right, or not.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or not, yeah. Tana and I often say the weapons of mass destruction.
Tana Amen: Everything you put on the end of your fork matters.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ISIS has nothing on our food industry that uh ... Yeah, we can do so much better. So, big lessons. What comes to mind when you hear that question?
Josh Perry: There's three that I love sharing. I'll say those after. But you mentioned a few things I want to talk about. Like, the whole falling aspects. I've learned that the desire to accomplish something, you don't see failure because you're so focused on the desire and then you don't have the outside influence of society brainwashing to a degree, but subconsciously programming you. So, like, "Oh, let's not try again because I'm afraid what they may think." Like you don't have those blocks.
From a young age, learning about that subconsciously ... it could be BMX, or any sport. Injuries happen, but it allows you to progress throughout life, or maybe larger events that take place. It helps you a lot. That's what I've seen. I've had a couple friends, and family members, take their own lives. I've been through my own battles of depression. There's so many things. Had I not had that foundation, I don't believe I would have been able to get through them as strongly as I have, because of that perspective. That's one thing I wanted to mention.
And then IIN was more of me just freaking out at all this conflicting information I was learning and I really wanted to be the best version of myself, and do the best I could. Thankfully I got into Doctor [inaudible 00:04:21] works straight before IIN, the month before. But I was just like, "He's talking about eating more fat. These people are saying fat causes cancer and heart disease. What do I do?"
And so, IIN was that, I talked to a few people that graduated, and they were like, "It's going to be great." The first thing Joshua said when we were in there was, "We're not here to teach you what to think, we're here to teach you how to think." I remember just getting pissed off, like, "What? I paid all this money to learn." But it ended up being great, and it made sense as we evolved. That's obviously where I found Doc Amen's work and now I'm here at Stone. I'm really grateful for that.
The three things that I've summed my 30 years up into ... Number one, I talked about this earlier, but perspective and context is essential to life, and I will argue that gratitude is [inaudible 00:05:05]. Whatever your belief is that gave you life and everything around you, if you're not grateful for even the pain you're dealing with, how can you expect to have more? You're a living human being. Some people don't wake up. That's a fact. We've all experienced that. But you woke up, you have the chance to experience more of life.
And that leads to number two: The problem's internal. I learned that the hard way. But I've learned that it's not just what's on the outside. So I was on the scale, I was a picture perfect example of health to the doctors, and I thought they know all. I'm just a civilian; what do I know? And it happened to be something internally wrong with me, thanks to hitting my head on the rocks [inaudible 00:05:41]. I don't suggest that you'll have to hit your head to learn, but that's what did it for me.
And then number three is a reality [inaudible 00:05:48] of our choices. Choice in thoughts, beliefs, doubts, self-talk, food, and sleep, or lack thereof, all these things. Literally, our reality is based on the choices we make every single day, and I may not happen right away, it may not be easy, but if we want to create a new reality to live in, then we have to make changes. Otherwise ... to me, it's not possible.
Tana Amen: Absolutely true. I love that. I also believe that people have to be careful ... we just did a podcast on language ... because what you're thinking ... it all starts with your thinking like you just said, the decisions you make, what you think leads to the decisions you make, and that becomes your reality, but when you put words to it, it becomes your experience. It becomes ... when you label something, it becomes the experience you have.
And so, when you think something and then you start saying it over and over and over, it seals it. I becomes the experience you had, right? And it may not have even been that, but you've labeled it that and now you've just sealed it.
So, how we say things ...
Josh Perry: [crosstalk 00:06:41] Dr. Joe Dispenza and Nicole [Lapere 00:06:43]?
Tana Amen: Yeah. You know Dr. Joe Dispenza really well.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, Joe and I are friends. Joe has referred many patients to the clinics.
Josh Perry: So, I got into his workshop about three years ago, and that's when I started learning about subconscious and all these things, and I was like, "Man, I got [inaudible 00:06:58], I don't understand any of it." And now I'm so into it. It doesn't matter what someone's talking about, I'm always thinking about what were their experiences leading to that thought or that [inaudible 00:07:08] so, yeah, I think-
Tana Amen: I think your subconscious doesn't have a sense of humor, so you have to be careful what you put there. Be careful how you talk to it.
Josh Perry: It's interesting that you mention thoughts creating our emotions and experiences. I know Dr. Joe talks a lot about that, but something a friend showed me that's helped me a lot and I've showed other people, is something called TEAR [inaudible 00:07:28], and it stands for thoughts, emotions, actions, and results, more like in reality. So if you start with an emotion, stress or fear, whatever it is at the time, what are your thoughts that are triggering that emotion? That's a pretty emotional state, that's needing to take action one way or the other, [inaudible 00:07:44] the result. So, if you don't like the reality you have, well let's change our thoughts, create a new emotional being, instead of sitting on the couch being a bit sad for ourselves, we'll get up an take an action, you can't help but being the outcome. That's just something that's helped me a lot.
Whenever you mentioning your go to, that's just one of mine about sharing.
Tana Amen: Yeah, that's fantastic.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, when you saw your scan, what was that like? Going to the Atlanta clinic, seeing Dr. [Uniarali 00:08:11], walk me through that a little bit.
Josh Perry: So, Dr. Uniarali and I, we had a lot of chats beforehand. We were going over what we expected to see, we were prepared, and then going through the initial evaluations that break down debriefs, after all the scans, we did a [inaudible 00:08:30], that really like, [inaudible 00:08:35] is that anxious excitement feeling and then like ... My thoughts were, wasn't as bad as I thought, and Dr. Ali explained a lot of the change that made loss, probably four or five years, probably helped that, of course. But, it still is like, "Man, like, seeing a hole in your brain, even though it's not a legit hole, it seems like-
Tana Amen: It feels like a hole, right.
Josh Perry: Well, you can't help but feel crushed at it. Like, man, this is real.
Tana Amen: That's how I felt. Right. I was a perfectionist.
Josh Perry: So, it was a mixture of [inaudible 00:09:05] and I prepared myself, I'd seen a lot of different scans and I was ... but still,
Tana Amen: But see, that's good. Because that's the thing that makes you want to be better, that's the athlete in you. That's the thing I can improve on. I mean, that's what I do. It's like I'm always looking for thing I can do better. How can I keep making it better? And that's not a bad thing. So, as long as you don't let it get you discouraged, that's okay.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You know, I tell people whatever we see it good news, because you have what you have. And if we can make it better ... if it's awesome, just keep doing what you're doing, but if it's not awesome-
Tana Amen: Now we have a target.
Dr. Daniel Amen: -we need to ramp up our rehabilitation and our training.
Tana Amen: But it gives us a map.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, that's what's exciting.
Josh Perry: It's basically giving me [inaudible 00:09:52]. Ryan and I were filming takeaways beforehand. What do we expect? Big thoughts, I was like, "Man, like, I'm scared but I know this is going to be great, because it's going to show my really what's going on, and then we can make changes thereafter to help improve."
Tana Amen: Exactly.
Josh Perry: You can't go somewhere you want to go unless you know where you're starting and it just helps with that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And what changes did you make since seeing your scan?
Josh Perry: So, I started some supplements, took some out that weren't doing as much as I thought, but then really added in high doses of Omega three fish oil, on the brain and the brain and memory power boost. And we did a lot of lab work after, which I've never done besides just a little lab from a doctor that I went to, so I looked at a lot of different things.
My vitamin D was a little bit lower than we expected and testosterone was relatively high. I think it was 1100 at the 0-900 scale.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow. So, someone's who has had multiple traumatic-
Tana Amen: That's actually unusual.
Dr. Daniel Amen: -brain injuries, that's unusual.
Josh Perry: That's what we were really interested in. And then to see my [inaudible 00:11:00] was, I think, a little low. I was still learning a little bit more about that with my eating products and things, but for the most part-
Tana Amen: That could have been from the head injury, too.
Josh Perry: -everything was perfect. It was not what we expected from my brain injuries and tumor, so adding some supplements like that ... I'm also using the [Dopa 00:11:18]+ supplement because learning with me and ADHD, the prefrontal cortex deficiency and hardcore energy had me seeking out stimulants all the time, and it makes sense why I could flip and [inaudible 00:11:28] at the same time within two seconds from where I am, but also hinders me in other areas, so ...
Yeah, it wasn't shooting many changes that I wasn't already doing. It was more just like getting detailed lab work and detailed supplements and [crosstalk 00:11:43]
Dr. Daniel Amen: And what about hyperbaric oxygen? Did he recommend that for you?
Josh Perry: Yes. I need to follow up with, I forget his name, that Gigi texted me with, to reach out about getting that sort of ... because it was a debate a little bit about hyperbaric oxygen and the four tumors I still have and that being an issue but I think we're being on the side it may not be an issue. So, that's the next step, is getting hyperbaric oxygen, which I've never done before.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, I would, for sure I would check with your neurosurgeon, see if he has a take on it, but we've seen hyperbaric oxygen significantly increase blood flow to the brain. And what do you think the percentage of ADD in BMX bikers?
Josh Perry: Maybe a hundred. I just got to be that five percent [inaudible 00:12:32], yeah, it's up there.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I would suspect because in a way, in order to do some of the tricks you've done, that-
Tana Amen: You have to be impulsive.
Dr. Daniel Amen: -you have to have ... not impulsive, because to do what you've done and not die, you have to be pretty disciplined. But, to want to do that ...
Tana Amen: Excitement seeking, for sure.
Dr. Daniel Amen: To want to do that, it's sort of like jumping out of a helicopter.
Tana Amen: So, I'm going to assume they probably told you you need to not get your head rattled much anymore if you want your brain to be good.
Josh Perry: Yeah, and it was two months ago that we had the scan and we go back in October for a six month followup scan, so I decided to take that whole six months off of riding because although I don't compete any more, I'm still very able to maintain that level of riding and I'd enjoy it, but now I'm like, "All right, my own health, of course, but also so we don't mess up the results, let's take some time."
Tana Amen: So now it gives you something to shoot for.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I'm in a new movie called Quiet Explosions and it goes through three of our patients, and one of them, Shawn [Doller 00:13:40], is a world record holder for big wave surfing. And 62 foot wave-
Tana Amen: Crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he did some things between his first scan and his followup scan, but his followup scan wasn't better, which made him and I really ramp up his treatment. And he's just been so grateful ... for him it was hormones ... that he really got dramatically better after that.
So, the next scan is just what it is based on what you're doing. Our hope, obviously, is it's better, but if it's not it just teaches us, okay, we've got to be serious, even more serious about what we can do to rehabilitate your brain.
Tana Amen: Well, and one thing that no one talks about, and this is the neurosurgical ICU'ers ... I mean, I've taken care of multiple people, actually several people who ... one was motocross, but two BMX bikers who broke their necks. They had helmets on but they don't protect you from compression fractures, right? So, when you land on your head, your head can snap backwards and you can land and it can actually do a compression fracture if you go straight down.
And one was a quadriplegic, one had to wear a halo, so, it don't protect the neck.
Josh Perry: Was one of them Steven Murray?
Tana Amen: I don't remember. This was a long time ago.
Josh Perry: [inaudible 00:15:05] I was there at the event where he landed on the back of his neck and broke his spine and he's been, for the most part, head down paralyzed.
Tana Amen: But this was like 16 years ago, so it was a long time ago.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right, when we come back ... in fact, what was the question that you wanted everybody to ask?
Tana Amen: So, if you have struggled with something you've heard about your health and it's really, you took a big hit from it, what have you struggles with? And how can you now turn that around and become better? So, with the information you've heard, we want to hear from you. What have you really struggled with? I know when you heard "cancer" you said your world just began to collapse, they told you you might die. What kind of news did you get that really ... Did you fall? You fell flat on the mat, right? Like I talk about in martial arts. And how can you get back up? How can you now make that become purposeful with that or how can you at least turn it around? And become better with that?
Go to, leave us a message, or you can tag one of us Instagram or Facebook. So, Tana Amen or Daniel Amen, leave us a message. We want to hear from you, we want to read it. We love your questions, so we want to talk to you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We'll be right back.
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