About Dr Richard Isaacson MD
Dr Richard Isaacson MD is a graduate of the accelerated 6-year B.A./M.D. program at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine, Dr. Isaacson currently serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology, Vice Chair for Education and Education Director of the McKnight Brain Institute in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, and his medical internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL. Prior to joining the University of Miami, he served as Director of the Research Unit in Medical Education and Associate Medical Director of the Wien Center for Alzheimer's disease and Memory Disorders at Mount Sinai. Dr. Isaacson exclusively specializes in Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, age-related memory loss and other cognitive impairments and has been uniformly impressed with the success of music therapy for memory complaints.
You can find out more information at The Alzheimer's Disease Plan.
Our Interview With Dr Isaacson:
[Anti Aging Source] This is Cliff Fontenot, the Anti-Aging Source, at the 19th annual A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine) World Congress Convention in Orlando, FL here with Dr. Richard Isaacson. All right, Dr. Isaacson. How did you get involved in alternative practices? What is it that drew you to this in the first place?
Dr Richard Isaacson MD So I’m a neurologist. My background is Alzheimer’s disease, this is my specialty. When I was growing up, when I was in high school, my uncle Bob was diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s disease. And back then, there was nothing, you know, there were absolutely no treatments, there was really nothing that we could do to either treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Then over the last fifteen, twenty years, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve dedicated myself to the study, and a few years ago my dad’s cousin was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
So, I’ve seen it back in the dark ages when we had no treatments, nothing at all, no preventative strategies, so now in 2011 when there’s so many things that we can do. So, I think from a personal and professional perspective, I’ve really committed my career to helping patients with Alzheimer’s and family members to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
[Anti Aging Source] So, I hear you have a new book out?
Dr Richard Isaacson MD Yep, the title is Treating Alzheimer's Preventing Alzheimer's: A Patient and Family Guide, 2011 Edition. And the book is really a culmination of really all I’ve learned and all of my experience in my family life, as well as my professional life over my training.
It’s really written for patients and caregivers; however I’ve heard that, you know, from several healthcare providers, practitioners, that they’ve read the book and been able to use what they’ve learned in the book to help their patients. So I think that’s really been great. But the book is written in easy-to-understand terms; it’s actually in large print, to make it easy to read. And it’s basically formatted in terms of thirty chapters, or thirty questions.
And I basically chose the thirty most common questions that my patients ask me in my clinic. And what I tried to do is answer them exactly like I’m speaking now: easy to understand terms, I talk English, not in medical terms. I also give very frank advice about in my clinical practice this is how I start this medication, or in my clinical practice, this is the supplement that I use, and this is the brand, and this is the data, and the scientific research behind it. Everything that I do in my, in my practice in terms of treating and preventing Alzheimer’s is based on scientific evidence that’s also grounded in safety. So all of the things that I recommend, I have a twenty step, multi-modal or comprehensive approach for Alzheimer ’s disease. And that’s why I wrote the book, to really educate my patients and caregivers, and to help others who want to get more information.
[Anti Aging Source] Here there’s a special therapy in there, music therapy, like, how, how is that involved, and, and what sort of success have you seen with that?
Dr Richard Isaacson MD Absolutely. So, you know, several years ago, I started using music therapy, and there’s a variety of research, there’s a variety of scientific evidence that music therapy has been proven to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Not just with anxiety and depression and calming, but also actually remembering things, like remembering spoken lyrics of the song, rather than just conversational words, as well as a study that came out of the University of Miami V.A. Hospital a few years ago that looked at music therapy can actually increase chemicals in the bloodstream that are actually, you know, related to sleep patterns and other behaviors.
So we’ve been able to show in terms of research that music therapy can help in terms of patient care, as well as caregiver burden on patients, are treated with music therapy and the caregivers feel better afterward. So we’ve been able to prove this, and there’s a music therapy program that I’ve been working on. It’s a music therapy for memory program. There’s actually a website, musictherapyformemory.com, and on this website there’s a music activity and educational program that I work with professional musicians as well as neurologists, psychologists, as well as a nurse, a dementia nurse. And what we’ve done is we’ve put together a program based on the research to have a, to exercise the mind and stimulate memory. And we do activities: clapping to the beat, counting to the beat, music history lessons, music to listen to while sleeping. We’ve been able to take the scientific research and put together a program to help patients.
[Anti Aging Source] Awesome! What do you love the most about what you do?
Dr Richard Isaacson MD The best part about my job is helping patients. You know doctors go into medicine, you know, to help patients. And that’s, you know, you don’t make money anymore being a doctor, you work hard, and it’s a tough life, but you help patients, and, I think that there are several success stories. For example, there is one patient that comes to mind, she’s a real sweetheart, I’ve known her since 2006, and she had mild memory trouble back in 2006. She was a high-functioning woman, very bright, guidance counselor, you know, very articulate woman. And she took a memory screening, in the community, and she didn’t do well on the memory screening. And because of this, she came to see me, an Alzheimer’s specialist, and I said “Nope! You don’t have Alzheimer’s disease, but you can do several things to potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.”
And over the last five years, I’ve been working with her very closely; we’ve stayed in very close contact. I’ve put her on my multi-modality twenty step plan: that includes diet, nutrition, very specific supplements, a medical food, and other, other agents in terms of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic music therapy. We’ve tried everything, vitamins, and using this multi-modality plan, even though by now, five years later, she in all likelihood, more likely than not, should have had Alzheimer’s disease-she still does not have Alzheimer’s. She’s still traveling.
She’s still enjoying her grandkids. She went on a trip and took pictures; she rode a camel; she went to the Great Barrier Reef. She did all these amazing things that, if maybe we didn’t do all these preventative anti aging interventions. Maybe she would have been doing a lot worse right now. So I think that’s one of my many success stories; I’ve been fortunate to have several.
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