There are two things Per Laursen wants you to know.
The first is this, which I will let him tell you in his own words.
He says, “Just like you, I firmly believe it is possible to slow, halt or reverse mild cognitive impairment.”
But the second thing he really wants you to understand is that he’s not some renowned physician or a neuroscientist. As he puts it, “I am by no means a superman or genius. I’m just an ordinary guy with MCI.”
Yet like other people I’ve been talking about lately, he was able to significantly reverse his MCI, and that’s why I’m so happy he was willing to share his story with you today in his own words.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Recently, I did a two-part series on some of the more common ways that I have seen real people in the real world slow, halt or reverse their MCI. And I presented them in this set of tiers, at least two of which really hit home with Per.
I love to hear from the people who watch these videos, and I love to be reminded every now and then how far-flung my audience is. Most are here in the U.S, but also Canada, Great Britain, Australia and elsewhere. When I’m interacting with someone, they may be from Delaware — or Denmark, which is where Per lives.
He’s 70, and was diagnosed with MCI in 2003. Back then, that was pretty much considered a death sentence. MCI was presumed to automatically lead to Alzheimer’s, and there wasn’t much to be done about it other than get your affairs in order.
We know better now, and fortunately, Per didn’t accept that back then. He chose to defend his cognition, and was able to halt his MCI and gradually improve.
After he saw my series, he reached to out share his experience, and his advice to others with MCI. I thought it was great advice, so I’m sharing it with you, in the form he sent it to me.
What follows is Per’s message:
Just like you, I firmly believe that it is possible to slow, halt or reverse mild cognitive impairment.
I’m one of “the usual suspects.” For my case, it’s a common sleep disorder (OSA), that is somehow treatable, if discovered and treated in the early stages.
My point of view is, if you have MCI:
1. Find the main reason first. It might be an easy one or a more complex. Tony’s “usual suspects” are a very good place to look, and remember — no size fits all here. There is not one single common solution, when it comes to the main reason for MCI.
I believe, that if you don’t find and deal with the most significant reason at first, nothing else you try will ever reverse or halt your MCI.
What’s worse is, if you start putting your trust and energy into a lot of things that don’t work for you, you may fall into the trap thinking: “Not much we can do about it.”
Its probably true that the doctor may not be able to solve your MCI problem. But that does not mean there’s no cure at all, and that you won’t find it, if you search for it.
2. After sticking to point 1, you can do all the other little things that can help bring your brain into its fully potential, every day and night.
Among the things I tried for myself, and which worked well, were:
- Get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, all year around.
- Daily exercise programme.
- Avoid stressful situations and people.
- Avoid medication, if not absolutely necessary.
- Don’t misuse alcohol and cigarettes.
- Maintain a healthy, various diet in quality and quantity.
- Do all the things and training that are recommended by the science of neurogenesis.
You may watch the TED talk about Neurogenesis, by Professor Sandrine Thuret, and you will be very well informed about the subject.
To better understand Per’s story and experience, I also asked him some questions, which he was kind enough to answer, providing additional suggestions and insight.
Q. What did you do professionally?
A. I have a broad working experience in several fields in smaller and large companies, spanning from electronics to the psychological part of the Human Resource-domain. For the last 20 years of my career, I was teaching employees and leaders in coping, stress management and the noble art of cooperation and bonding, in a large international company with 15,000 people.
Q. Were you diagnosed with MCI? If so, how long ago?
A. I was diagnosed with MCI by a neurologist in 2003.
Q. Have you halted it/reversed it?
A. I have. I certainly have. In 2003, the prognosis of MCI, it was like the highway toward dementia. But over the years, I seemed to work it out, and got gradually better functioning, day by day and year by year. Now I can read and write again, at a level close to pre-MCI. Also in English, which is my second language. Judge for yourself.
Q. What led you to get diagnosed?
A. My wife brought me finally to my GP and she suggested a sleep study in the hospital. I got a nightly sleep test, and the first thing that the doctor said in the morning was: “Why didn’t you came 5 years before, Per?” The “usual suspect” for me was the OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) and the lack of oxygen in the brain — leading to MCI. If I had come before, I could have avoided MCI. But I didn’t. That was my destiny.
Q. What kinds of problems were you experiencing cognitively?
A. A lot. It came gradually in 5 to 10 years prior to the diagnosis, but I couldn’t accept or recognize it at that time. I just came up with excuses to myself, as the years went by. I still have concentration and memory problems. Mainly my working memory is impaired.
Q. What are you doing now? Are there any projects you’re working on?
A. I have had to take early retirement because of MCI and OSA. So today, after some 20 odd years with MCI, I now write books and make videos about coping OSA and MCI. I’m building guitars, playing a little music. Once a week, I also play bridge with a bunch of friends, who all shares the MCI challenge, all though they have a very different diagnosis, or reason for their cognitive impairment.
Q. What else would you tell my audience?
A. Acknowledge the power of a decision. No one wants to put energy in anything, unless you can expect to get something in return. So I also believe, that to succeed in repairing your own brain, you first of all have to make a decision. The decision to act. And the decision to give yourself the permission to try, no matter what others may think, and no matter the odds may be.
I find also strength in my family. My wife and my daughter. We are very close and have always been. They really deserves acknowledgement. They are the true everyday heroes. Thru thick and thin, they have supported me, and without them, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to go on, and the energy to thrive and succeed.