How We Are Fixing Gary Busey’s Brain- Pt. 2 with Gary Busey

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

Dr. Daniel Amen is on a mission to fix Gary Busey’s brain. In this episode of the podcast, they are joined by Tana Amen and Gary’s partner Stephanie to discuss the intervention techniques laid out for Gary to help him get his brain back on track. Dr. Amen describes how Gary can address all of the BRIGHT MINDS risk factors that play a part in his brain function.


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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. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain, to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.

Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades, using brain spect imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit

Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit, Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. And stay tuned for a special code for a discount to Amen Clinics for a full evaluation, as well as any of our supplements at

Dr Daniel Amen: You guys have been together 10 years.

Steffanie Sampson: 10 years.

Dr Daniel Amen: And you have an eight year old son.

Gary Busey: We've been together 32 lifetimes.

Steffanie Sampson: In this lifetime, 10 years.

Dr Daniel Amen: In this lifetime, 10 years. And what were the things that you can share, that you were concerned about?

Steffanie Sampson: Impulse control.

Gary Busey: What?

Steffanie Sampson: Impulse control.

Gary Busey: What is that?

Steffanie Sampson: Memory.

Gary Busey: My memory ... I'll play a memory game with any one of you in here and you'll never get it.

Steffanie Sampson: Yeah, but that's old term stuff.

Gary Busey: No, I'm talking about the memory. Not old term stuff.

Dr Daniel Amen: That's her question though. Let her answer her question from her perspective.

Gary Busey: You mean she answers the questions herself? What do you think she's gonna answer it? She's gonna answer it the way she wants to. Forget the question mark.

Dr Daniel Amen: So memory, impulse control. And we talked about "Memory Rescue", my new book, and "Bright Minds", which are the risk factors that..

Gary Busey: Great book, great book.

Dr Daniel Amen: That steal your mind. Thank you so much.

Gary Busey: My pleasure.

Dr Daniel Amen: And with that, and what I'm excited to be on this journey with you, is how much of this dormant brain function can we get back?

Gary Busey: Oh it's coming back now.

Dr Daniel Amen: If we can get it back.

Gary Busey: We will. We are.

Dr Daniel Amen: Then we've agreed to document this to give other people hope who have had brain injuries.

Gary Busey: That's why we're here, Yes, indeed.

Steffanie Sampson: I think he's going to surprise you. I think that part of the brain that you say is dead, I think of all people, I really have a feeling he's going to bring it back somehow.

Gary Busey: No, it's coming back, it's coming back. I'm going to do you a favor. I'm going to find the guy that did that to your hair.

Steffanie Sampson: Oh, my gosh.

Gary Busey: I look at my hair when I say that.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, since we met, I guess it's about a month ago. What is different? What are you doing different to start this healing journey?

Gary Busey: Well, I eat. Your stomach is this big. I eat very little. Nutritional, organic and she is a master at that for me. Water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water. No cigars, no marijuana. That's ridiculous because that stops your brain from working properly. And I know that from experience and I know it from stopping it.

Steffanie Sampson: No soda.

Tana Amen: So, you feel better from stopping it you're saying?

Gary Busey: What?

Tana Amen: You feel better after stopping it?

Gary Busey: I don't feel better. I know better.

Tana Amen: Good.

Gary Busey: And we have knowledge of being better. You already feel it.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, less cigars.

Steffanie Sampson: No cigars.

Dr Daniel Amen: No cigars.

Gary Busey: No cigars or marijuana.

Dr Daniel Amen: No pot.

Steffanie Sampson: More water.

Dr Daniel Amen: I'm so proud of you.

Steffanie Sampson: Yes.

Gary Busey: Thank you. Do you pay me know or do I wait? The check is in the mail Gary, the check is in the mail.

Dr Daniel Amen: I'll pay you with longevity.

Steffanie Sampson: He's doing the supplements. Your supplements. Twice a day.

Gary Busey: I feel like I've got the neck of a thoroughbred horse swallowing those pills.

Steffanie Sampson: One pop, it's crazy.

Gary Busey: Your throat has to open up that big to swallow the pills he gives me.

Tana Amen: Well, I'm not sure we recommend taking them all at once.

Steffanie Sampson: That's what I keep telling him. Take them a few at a time.

Gary Busey: Hey, that's my life story. I do everything all at once.

Tana Amen: All at once. I get that sense, I get that sense, yes.

Steffanie Sampson: He's cut out soda and the sugary drinks.

Tana Amen: Awesome.

Steffanie Sampson: He's staring to learn more about nutrition. That's what he needs, is to learn more about it.

Gary Busey: I'm learning.

Steffanie Sampson: There's a chapter in your book he's read multiple times.

Dr Daniel Amen: And I gave you Tana's cookbook, right? "The Brain Warriors Way" cookbook.

Gary Busey: What?

Dr Daniel Amen: I gave you Tana's cookbook. She wrote a cookbook called "The Brain Warriors Way."

Steffanie Sampson: I have it.

Gary Busey: What is that?

Tana Amen: He's like, cook? I have to cook?

Steffanie Sampson: No, he doesn't cook.

Gary Busey: One of your recipes I really like. It's making waffles with Raisin Bran and Cheerios in them.

Tana Amen: No, no, no.

Gary Busey: She can't deny it. No, don't do this.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, tell me about your diet.

Tana Amen: You are a trouble maker, he's a trouble maker.

Steffanie Sampson: Behave yourself. You know what I love it when I do? We'd be in a meeting where I'm trying to get him to behave himself and I'll kick his foot.

Tana Amen: Oh no! Why do you think I have high heels on?

Steffanie Sampson: And he goes, "Why are you kicking my foot?"

Tana Amen: Yes, he does that too.

Steffanie Sampson: In front of all the people.

Dr Daniel Amen: She does the same thing to me.

Tana Amen: I started wearing high heels. I thought if I'm going to get in trouble I'm at least going to stomp his foot with my high heels.

Gary Busey: No, wear football cleats and just stomp on his foot.

Tana Amen: Okay, thank you for that tip. I like that. Cause he does, why are you kicking me?

Steffanie Sampson: You have to buy shoes with cleats on it for women who have to kick their husbands.

Gary Busey: Forget that, don't listen to this. That's very unfair. Have you ever been hit in the head really hard with a little league bat?

Tana Amen: Oh dear Lord. No. It's not a habit that I think I want to...

Gary Busey: You play a horn?

Tana Amen: Dear Lord no.

Steffanie Sampson: Dr. Amen. Let's get back on track somehow.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, why Gary?

Gary Busey: Why what?

Dr Daniel Amen: Ask her about getting hit in the head with a bat?

Gary Busey: I didn't have anything else to say. It just came out without effort, you know?

Steffanie Sampson: That was the impulse filtering step that he's talking about.

Tana Amen: But you have to admit, it does make him funny.

Steffanie Sampson: Sometimes, most of the time.

Tana Amen: It's pretty funny. I want to give you a compliment.

Gary Busey: Finally.

Tana Amen: There's many. Before we came in, I just met you. And before we walked in, one thing you do so masterfully and beautifully is you take everyone in the room into consideration. You make sure that everyone feels welcomed.

Gary Busey: They're very important to me. My heart and my spirit.

Tana Amen: And I noticed that. And that's lovely because not everyone does that.

Gary Busey: Well, all those people I've met are right here are so special to me and what they do where they come from, where they are and where they're going. And that to me is I give them a green flag. Go get it.

Tana Amen: And it's lovely.

Gary Busey: And I come in and introduce myself with my heart and my spirit. I let them know by that I'm on their team.

Tana Amen: And I love that. And then you turned right around and acted like you ran into a door and scared the heck out of me.

Gary Busey: Oh, that's a fun thing to do in Tokyo.

Tana Amen: Not for a trauma nurse. It's not good.

Gary Busey: For who?

Tana Amen: A trauma nurse. I'm a trauma nurse and you ran into a door.

Gary Busey: You are. You're a living trauma, do you know that? Okay, stop doing that. I'll get you.

Dr Daniel Amen: Yes and I have stories about the living trauma. But we're here to talk about recovering from traumatic brain injury. Gary and I and Stephanie, we're working on a documentary fixing Gary Busey's brain.

Steffanie Sampson: I think we should be fixing Gary Busey's life. I think we should expand that.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well, but don't you think if you fix the brain, the life begins to get better.

Steffanie Sampson: Change your brain, change your life. I heard that somewhere.

Dr Daniel Amen: Change your brain, change your life. We're very excited about that.

Gary Busey: What did you say?

Speaker 5: We're referencing his book, "Change your Brain, Change your Life," another great book.

Gary Busey: Yes, that goes for everybody living, whether you had a brain injury or not. As you grow older your brain grows older but as you stay young your brain stays young. And that's young in the way you feel about your life, the others, the people you work with, your family, your job, whatever it is. And remember this. If you're going through something, that's just I hate this, I don't want to be in this, this is horrible, repeat these four words to yourself. It could be worse. And that gives you a feeling of "ahh, yeah" that "ahh" feeling is where your brain likes to reside.

Tana Amen: And I always liked this too shall pass. It's going to pass, one way or another. It's going to pass.

Gary Busey: Two shall pass?

Tana Amen: This too shall pass. It's gonna pass. Whatever the bad situation is..

Gary Busey: Talking about passing gas?

Tana Amen: Why did I know he was going to do that?

Steffanie Sampson: You know it's a saying. This too shall pass. I love that saying.

Gary Busey: I want to tell you what the Busey of a fart is. Because a fart is something everybody does, it's a naturally bodily function. FART stands for feeling a rectal transmission. It's okay to fart in an elevator and you can say let's name that smell. That way everyone is included in what you do with your body.

Tana Amen: That's hilarious.

Dr Daniel Amen: What about sin?

Gary Busey: You better jump in here buddy. I'm lost.

Dr Daniel Amen: We're all good. What about sin?

Gary Busey: Sin. SIN stands for self imposed nonsense.

Tana Amen: I like that.

Gary Busey: Which is what it is.

Dr Daniel Amen: And after a head injury, sin is actually more likely because if you hurt the front part of your brain, well that's the part of you that stops you from saying things you shouldn't say or doing things you shouldn't do. And after that head injury you actually, initially, you came out against the helmet law. I read that in the book. And then after you came to your senses and you really thought about it, you came out in favor of the helmet law.

Gary Busey: You know what I did? Had a press symposium at the Bonaventure Hotel in L.A. And I recanted everything I said about the helmet [inaudible 00:10:34]. And George Herbert Walker Bush press heard it and invited me to the White House briefing. And that language became the beginning language of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act which I created and Clinton signed into an act in 1997. I have the first and last page of the White House this big of the act that created the Traumatic Brain Injury act with all the Senators who worked on it, signed it underneath it. That's a very proud moment in my life concerning what I've been through and what I can give from that to help others.

Dr Daniel Amen: So important. I mean that's historic.

Gary Busey: More than important.

Dr Daniel Amen: And think of the lives saved because you came out and said this is really important.

Gary Busey: Yes, you need to wear your helmet. I even encourage people to wear helmets when they take showers.

Tana Amen: I don't know what to say to that.

Gary Busey: You don't get it? Where a helmet in there and you'll find out. And when you drop the soap be careful.

Dr Daniel Amen: Okay. So, as part of the healing process what we're going to do, is we're actually going to go after each of the bright minds risk factors. And so, let's just go through them. And let's talk about what I want you to do for each of them. So, B in Bright Minds is for blood flow. Low blood flow is the number one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer's disease.

Gary Busey: What do you mean, blood flow?

Dr Daniel Amen: Blood flow to your brain. And when we did the spec scan on you we saw really low blood flow especially to the front part of your brain.

Tana Amen: Where you said it was dormant, that's low blood flow.

Gary Busey: Doctor said dead. I choose to use a different word.

Tana Amen: So no blood flow, low blood flow.

Dr Daniel Amen: Which is really interesting because injury happened on the right side. The injury happened on the right side. It's called a coo contra-coo injury happened on the left side. But it can be so much better. So how do you know besides if you had a spec scan whether you have low blood flow? If you have hypertension. You have hypertension.

Gary Busey: No I don't.

Dr Daniel Amen: Now it's being treated, right?

Gary Busey: Prove it. Yes, it's being treated.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, that means if you have hypertension, you have to treat it. That's really important.

Gary Busey: Did you say tweet or treat?

Dr Daniel Amen: Treat.

Tana Amen: Please don't tweet.

Dr Daniel Amen: If you have any form of heart disease you have to treat that effectively cause your brain uses 20% of the blood flow in your body. So you have to fix any vascular problem if you don't exercise. So, treating hypertension. Are you exercising?

Gary Busey: Yes.

Dr Daniel Amen: What are you doing?

Gary Busey: I need to walk more. Then there's a gym across the street that has free weights.

Dr Daniel Amen: And he is strong. In fact, when he gives me a hug, I'm like, please don't break my ribs. He's strong.

Gary Busey: Welcome to the gym.

Dr Daniel Amen: The R in Bright Minds is retirement in aging. As when you stop learning your brain starts dying. And your 73, even though you don't look 73, the older we get the more serious we need to be about doing the right things. Oh, with blood flow, marijuana lowers blood flow to the brain. Cigars, nicotine lowers blood flow to the brain.

Gary Busey: I don't inhale.

Dr Daniel Amen: I'm so proud of you, so proud of you. Even though you don't inhale it comes through your mucus membranes.

Steffanie Sampson: Say that again. Because he always says, I don't inhale.

Tana Amen: Yeah, but even second hand smoke is bad.

Dr Daniel Amen: That's what Clinton said too.

Steffanie Sampson: Listen, say it again. Listen carefully.

Dr Daniel Amen: It goes through the mucus membranes in your mouth til you get the nicotine that constricts blood flow that's bad.

Steffanie Sampson: He has no mucus membranes. He's immune.

Dr Daniel Amen: Okay, so we're on R, retirement in aging, you need to be learning new things.

Gary Busey: I am.

Dr Daniel Amen: Now, you play the guitar. In fact, in the "Buddy Holly Story" you were just amazing and you sang all the songs and played all the instruments, correct?

Tana Amen: You were so good.

Dr Daniel Amen: Amazing. I stands for inflammation. When inflammation comes from the Latin word to set a fire, it's like you have a low level fire in your body. And when I tested your inflammatory markers, there's a blood test called C reactive protein. It was way too high. And after we do the Podcast today we're going to meet with Dr. Filidei and we're going to talk about how to get your body in the best shop.

Tana Amen: And you're going to feel better, pain goes down.

Gary Busey: Pain, I love pain. I'm talking about window pane.

Dr Daniel Amen: The Omega 3 fatty acids that are in the supplements, they help decrease inflammation and if you cook with things like Tumeric that's in curry.

Gary Busey: Like who?

Tana Amen: Curry. Like, eat curry.

Dr Daniel Amen: Do you like curries?

Gary Busey: No.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, do you like fish?

Steffanie Sampson: I give him a Tumeric supplement.

Tana Amen: Okay, well that's good.

Dr Daniel Amen: Turmeric is a great supplement. Because it helps decrease inflammation. G is genetics. So what do you have that runs in your family? Your mom, your dad, aunts, uncles, cousins?

Gary Busey: Quickness, speed. Doesn't think before I speak. I got that all my life. Gary, you gotta think before you speak. I did think, let's try it again. I stop and say the same thing. Are you thinking, and I say yes I am.

Dr Daniel Amen: H is for how which is obvious.

Gary Busey: Its funny what I've learned from being with you. That we all have invisible ways emotionally of denying what our truth is.

Tana Amen: Of course, everybody does. They're called blind spots for a reason.

Gary Busey: Blind spots? That's like driving stupid on a freeway.

Tana Amen: But we have them and they're blind spots for a reason.

Dr Daniel Amen: Okay. So in Bright Minds, back to that. We'll have to make this a Buseyism. The age is head trauma. And so not only did you have the major head trauma.

Gary Busey: TBI.

Dr Daniel Amen: You had thousands of little ones playing football.

Tana Amen: Right. Every hit.

Steffanie Sampson: And radiation. Radiation in the face.

Dr Daniel Amen: We're going to get to that. That's on the T. So, the T in Bright Minds stands for toxins. And you had cancer in one of your sinuses. And they took it out and then they radiated you. It turned out to be whole brain radiation.

Gary Busey: That's something I didn't want to do.

Dr Daniel Amen: You didn't want to do it. But the doctor thought it would be the best course.

Gary Busey: Doctor told me radiation kills cancer roots. Cancer roots cannot be seen by microscopes. If you have one cancer root, you have cancer again. I went, Oh s**t. I should have gone to my cancer doctor, Chester Griffis and told him that and he would have said, no don't do it.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well you did it. And that may have contributed to the damage we saw on the left front side of his brain.

Gary Busey: I did it.

Dr Daniel Amen: So, if we have football, the motor cycle accident, now we have the radiation and then other toxins, cocaine is clearly a toxin. Marijuana is a toxin, cigarette smoke is a toxin.

Gary Busey: I don't smoke cigarettes.

Dr Daniel Amen: Cigar smoke is a toxin. So, we have all those toxins. And what you do is you stop the toxin, that's the first thing. And then you support the four organs of detoxification. So you're kidneys.

Tana Amen: You already said you are drinking water.

Gary Busey: Yes.

Dr Daniel Amen: Your gut, eat more fiber. So, lots of vegetables, really important.

Tana Amen: Do you take a probiotic?

Dr Daniel Amen: Let me just....Probiotics great. The liver, don't drink and eat Brassicas

Steffanie Sampson: What's Brassicas?

Dr Daniel Amen: They're special vegetables that detoxify you. Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli.

Steffanie Sampson: That's what we eat all the time.

Gary Busey: What about Sauerkraut?

Tana Amen: Yes, excellent.

Dr Daniel Amen: Sauerkraut is great.

Gary Busey: I love Sauerkraut.

Tana Amen: So, fomented foods are great. So Sauerkraut is fomented. Sauerkraut and kimchi has the probiotics. I was just asking you if you took a probiotic.

Steffanie Sampson: We got the one you told me to order.

Tana Amen: Good.

Steffanie Sampson: That's the one I'm giving but I think I forgot to give it to you today.

Tana Amen: As long as you're taking it.

Dr Daniel Amen: Okay, so that's the bright part. Oh and then sweating with exercise. Because your skin is actually the largest detoxification organ in your body and saunas. Do you like taking saunas? Saunas, there's a study from Finland where people who took saunas five to seven times per week cut their risk of Alzheimer's disease by two-thirds. So, a dramatic decrease. So, sweating is really good. The M in bright minds, mental health, depression increases your risk of trouble. ADD increases.

Gary Busey: I have no depression.

Dr Daniel Amen: I love that. The second I is immunity and infections. A lot of infections actually cause brain problems. Lyme disease, herpes.

Gary Busey: What does Lyme disease do to you?

Dr Daniel Amen: It's a bacteria you actually get from a deer tick. It's called a spiraty. It can damage your joints, but a lot of people don't know it could actually damage your brain. And people can have pretty severe emotional reactions from it. So, with immunity, how to boost it, is you optimize your vitamin D level, something we'll talk about. Also eating mushrooms, garlic and onions. So figure out what of those you like.

Gary Busey: I like all that.

Dr Daniel Amen: That's really good for you.

Gary Busey: Salad, mushroom and garlic.

Dr Daniel Amen: The N in Bright minds is so important for you because they are called neuro hormone deficiencies. When your hormones are low, testosterone, thyroid, DHEA.

Gary Busey: I've got to get my testosterone up. And I have that medicine.

Dr Daniel Amen: We're going to talk to Dr. Filidei about that. This is really important that very few people know about. When you have a severe brain injury it actually hurts a part of your brain called your pituitary gland and it turns off hormone production of a lot of different things. For you, your thyroid was low, way too low. And your testosterone. So just fixing that, if that was all we did....

Tana Amen: You'd feel better.

Dr Daniel Amen: You would feel better.

Tana Amen: Memory would be better. You'd be sharp, well I don't know if you need to be. You're already..

Steffanie Sampson: He's pretty sharp, razor sharp.

Gary Busey: You all gotta let me play my memory game with you.

Tana Amen: No, no, I'm good.

Gary Busey: We gotta do that before the end. He has to play it with Tana.

Dr Daniel Amen: He has to play it with Tana. It's hysterical. So, we're going to fix the hormones. D is diabesity which is a combination of being overweight and having high blood sugar. Your blood sugar was way too high. Now it's probably better if you're eating the way that we talked about.

Gary Busey: It's a lot better. I've been eating no sugar. No sugar.

Dr Daniel Amen: Sugar is death for the brain.

Tana Amen: It is the devil. Sugar is the devil.

Gary Busey: Okay, are you ready to play the memory game?

Dr Daniel Amen: Almost done. Almost there.

Gary Busey: I'm kidding, take your time.

Dr Daniel Amen: But since we met, how much weight have you lost?

Gary Busey: 35, maybe 60 lbs.

Tana Amen: Oh, my gosh.

Steffanie Sampson: No, no, no.

Tana Amen: I was like, what?

Gary Busey: I've lost three and a half inches off my waist.

Tana Amen: Oh dear

Steffanie Sampson: Maybe 15 or 10.

Tana Amen: That's awesome.

Dr Daniel Amen: But he looks significantly different.

Tana Amen: It hasn't been that long. That's fantastic.

Dr Daniel Amen: I am so proud of you. That is so important.

Gary Busey: I'm proud of me too.

Dr Daniel Amen: And people don't know. I published two studies that show as your weight goes up, the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down which should scare the fat off anyone. And with 40% of Americans..

Steffanie Sampson: Scare the fat off you, that's funny. I like that.

Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you. With 40% of America obese, it's the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States.

Gary Busey: Listen, when I was in Pittsburgh or wherever I go in the Midwest, boom, people put on their clothes and they look like a potato in a leotard.

Tana Amen: And its our food supply. You know, food engineers are not helping us. It's tragic. It's tragic all the chemicals being put into our food are not helping.

Gary Busey: Oh, oh my god.

Dr Daniel Amen: And you are so lucky to be with Steffanie because I know she gets this.

Gary Busey: Oh, she's a blessing man.

Dr Daniel Amen: She gets it. Which is also good because you have an eight year old son and for you doing the right things is he is more likely to do the right things because children do what we do, not what we tell them to do.

Gary Busey: I know that.

Dr Daniel Amen: So you're a model.

Gary Busey: Luke, look at me. Look at your dad talking to you. Look in my eyes. Speak.

Dr Daniel Amen: The S in Bright Minds is for sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential.

Steffanie Sampson: He's good at that. He has no problem there.

Dr Daniel Amen: But having things like sleep apnea is just bad, bad, bad for the brain. So taking care of your sleep. So, that's really the program. That's what we're going to work on. My goal is when Buseyisms comes out September 4th is that you are even more sharp, more together than you are now. And certainly from when I first saw you.

Gary Busey: You know what now stands for? NOW? No other way.

Dr Daniel Amen: No other way.

Tana Amen: I like that.

Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you for listening to the Brain Warriors Way Podcast. Go to Itunes and leave a review and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of the "Brain Warriors Way" and the "Brain Warriors Way" cookbook we give away every month.