They Diagnosed Him With Alzheimers’…But It Was Something Else

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

When Daniel and Tana Amen first met, Tana had been distracted by her father’s deteriorating mental condition. He had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and things were not looking good. However, as you’ll learn in this episode, when Daniel brought him to the clinic to scan his brain, everything changed.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way Podcast. I'm Doctor 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 Bran 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 Warriors Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr Daniel Amen: Everybody welcome. We're gonna do the reluctant healer week ...
Tana Amen: Oh dear.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and actually talk you through one of my all time favorite stories. I often say, the way to get a beautiful woman to fall in love with you, is do something nice ...
Tana Amen: What you're doing is teaching people ...
Dr Daniel Amen: ... for someone they love.
Tana Amen: What you're doing is teaching people how to manipulate?
Dr Daniel Amen: We're all manipulative. Why do people not get this? Everybody is manipulative. It's just the more sophisticated you are, the harder it is to tell.
Tana Amen: Oh, I see.
Dr Daniel Amen: When I met you, it's like, "Oh my goodness. That was so, like a shot of cocaine." Not that I've actually ever done cocaine, but it was ... My little heart went fast. I'm like, "Whoa."
Tana Amen: Oh, that's funny.
Dr Daniel Amen: Beautiful and smart. I'm a sucker for that. And then, you know, a couple weeks later, I scanned you.
Tana Amen: True.
Dr Daniel Amen: that's sort of the lore in my family, is ...
Tana Amen: The naked brain.
Dr Daniel Amen: Date one of my children, or I told myself, if I was ever gonna get married again, the first naked part of her, was her brain. I wanna just say. You had, not only a beautiful brain, but you are beautiful, and you're smart. And then, a couple of months after we knew each other, you got a call from your sisters about your father. Before we tell the story, why don't you read a review.
Tana Amen: This is Healing From TBI by Whitney Mac Podcast site. This is from our Podcast site. Laughing my way out of a head injury. I've been listening to Doctor Amen and Tana. They have changed my life. Diet and supplements both, from their lists and company, literally are life savers. If you can laugh your way out of a TBI, that's pretty awesome. That made me happy to read.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, most people don't know, that if you've had a traumatic brain injury, you should do something about it. You should put your brain in a healing environment. As we've seen, here at Amen clinics, over and over and over, you are not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better. You just have to put it in a healing environment. The story starts, goodness, more than 13 years ago.
Tana Amen: The story starts when I was two months old.
Dr Daniel Amen: I wasn't there then, so you're gonna have to tell this part.
Tana Amen: Well, the story is, actually starts when I was a baby. I really don't have a relationship with my ... I didn't have a relationship with my dad. My dad left. My parents got divorced. My dad decided to check out. Rather than, at least making an effort to see me, he just was gone. He was partying, he started doing drugs, and then he cleaned up and became a minister. Even as a minister, he was not involved in my life.
And then, when he was involved in my life, it was sporadic, it was for a couple weeks a year. Even when I would see him, he was far too busy to actually spend time with me. My stepmom would spend more time with me, than my dad did. He was just very sort of, harsh. We were never close. And then, things got really weird, when he divorced my stepmom. He started partying with my sisters, minister gone wild.
He went back to his old ways, and I don't know. He just went off, sort of the deep end, starts partying with my sister. He goes from being this very rigid, very sort of hellfire and brimstone minister, to now, like all of that just went out the window. It really through me for a loop. I made it very clear to him, I never wanted to talk to him again. I was done. I just didn't understand him.
Dr Daniel Amen: That was when you were ...
Tana Amen: 18.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... 18.
Tana Amen: I was just completely finished. I never wanted to talk to him, never wanted to see him again. And then, after I cancer, I sort of set that aside. I just let it go. I wasn't mad at him anymore. I just didn't have a relationship with him. Didn't really see him. I'd seen him a couple times over, from the time I was 25 to when I was dating you, I'd seen maybe a couple times, but no relationship really to speak of.
Dr Daniel Amen: You know, it reminds me of the documentary we saw this weekend, which is ... What was the name of it? Three Identical Strangers. About these triplets that were separated at birth and raised in different families, but what nobody told the kids, was they were part of a study.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: One of them late went on to develop a mental illness, bipolar disorder and killed himself. When they looked at the differences, it came out to be parenting, at least that was the implication. The one parent that was more rule bound and harsher, even though genetically these three men are the same, one develops real trouble.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Parents really do matter.
Tana Amen: Yeah, your environment matters.
Dr Daniel Amen: It may almost have been better that he wasn't involved in your life day in and day out ...
Tana Amen: He was totally erratic.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... because the criticism and the negativity was just bad for people.
Tana Amen: Well, and he wasn't a solid person.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right.
Tana Amen: I'm obviously ... I'm giving you the readers digest version of what happened. I mean, it was a lot more involved and complicated than that.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, then we start dating, 13 more years ago now. You get a call that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, that he's renting a room, but he's not coming out of his room. Your sisters have no idea what to do.
Tana Amen: Yeah. They need my help. He won't come out of his room. He's a recluse. He's not taking care of himself. He's not showering regularly. They are just really worried. My first reaction was, "It's not my problem. It's just flat out, not my problem. Why is this my problem? He's never been a part of my life. Why are you calling me?" I was at that time, a single mother, you know, working really hard. This was just not something I was ready or willing to take on. This is someone who, I didn't have a lot of fondness for.
Dr Daniel Amen: Yes.
Tana Amen: I didn't really have a lot of anger anymore. I just didn't have ... There was nothing. Why is this my problem?
Dr Daniel Amen: Unfortunately, or fortunately, you're dating someone who, when I hear stories like that, I'm like, "Let's see. He's diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Has anybody looked at his brain?" No. They're just medicating him in the dark. He's actually on a fairly odd combination of medication.
Tana Amen: Well, and let's back up. The only reason I even talked to you about it, was so you could give me a solution for them, not for me. I was looking for a way to help them take care of him.
Dr Daniel Amen: You brought it up. Let's just be clear.
Tana Amen: Yeah, but not, so that you could bring him down and move him in with me.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, that's not what happened.
Tana Amen: That is what happened.
Dr Daniel Amen: No.
Tana Amen: That is what happened.
Dr Daniel Amen: What happened initially was, I said, "Why don't you let me see him." See I just-
Tana Amen: That's your sneaky way of let me move him in with us.
Dr Daniel Amen: No, I didn't want you to do that.
Tana Amen: Yeah. You're gonna see, over time, that's what happens a lot.
Dr Daniel Amen: I think God puts us on the planet to be useful, to be helpful.
Tana Amen: I think he put you and me on the planet for two different reasons. Okay. One would ask why did I marry a psychi ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Why did God put you on the planet?
Tana Amen: Well yes, to be useful in a lot of ways. I'm not sure my way is supposed to be the same as your way. I'm a protector. It's so crazy how ... Why did someone who learn to build walls, and keep people in my family, who literally created massive amounts of chaos, just keep them out of my life. Why would I marry somebody who then just decides, "Oh no, we need to fix them all, and move them in, and keep them near us, and bring them all back."
Dr Daniel Amen: Has the therapy helped you answer that question?
Tana Amen: No.
Dr Daniel Amen: To continue this story, he's diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He's a recluse. We bring him down, not to move him in, but we bring him down so that I can assess him, because how do you really know what's going on in somebody's brain, unless you actually look. All of you heard me say that over and over again. There are over 2,000 studies, on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. [inaudible 00:10:20] is one of the best studies to look at it. It's actually used for dementia around the world.
Here at Amen Clinics, we have more experience than anybody ever. When we brought him down ... I got to meet your dad. I thought that was important dating you. In fact, for those of you that are dating, you should get my book, Brain In Love. Chapter six, actually tells you how to do a neuroscience assessment of your potential partner's family. I've actually been thinking about this for a long time.
Tana Amen: Oh, I warned you way in advance. I held nothing back.
Dr Daniel Amen: Yes. You come from crazy.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: I held ... There's full disclosure. When we brought him down, and I scanned him, he did not have Alzheimer's disease. He did not have the Alzheimer's pattern in his brain, that's actually [crosstalk 00:11:24] been described for the last 30 years. He's misdiagnosed, mistreated and ...
Tana Amen: He's on the wrong medications, like weird medications.
Dr Daniel Amen: He's on the wrong medications, and now at this point, I really do think he should stay close, so that we can fix his brain.
Tana Amen: Told you.
Dr Daniel Amen: He had something called, pseudo dementia, which I've diagnosed many times. It's people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, but their brain doesn't show it. Their brain actually shows their depressed. That's what pseudo dementia is, which is depression, that's masquerading as severe cognitive and memory problems. I took him off his medications, put him on some supplements and when we come back, we're gonna tell you the, sort of really interesting turn this story took.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warriors Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe, so you'll always know when there's a new episode. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review, or five star rating as that helps others find the Podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.