ANTIDEPRESSANTS & MEMORY LOSS: Utah No. 2 in nation for Alzheimer’s


SSRI antidepressants affect memory so strongly that “amnesia” is listed as a “frequent” side effect.
I recall in the Fall of 1991 getting a note from my dear friends Frank and Phyllis Van Wagenen, parents of Robert Redford’s now ex-wife, Lola Van Wagenen, who lived on Center Street in Provo, Utah where we spent every 4th of July watching the largest 4th of July parade in the US from their front porch. They were writing to thank me for the copy my first booklet on Proza, The Prozac Pandora, that I had recently left at their door when I did not find them at home. The note said they were so grateful for the information because it helped them to understand what they had been through during the past year. Upon receiving that message, with great concern, I immediately called Frank and Phyllis to make sure they and their family were okay. And Phyllis began to  share with me their own Prozac nightmare.
She explained that while visiting New Orleans for the Marti Gra she and Frank were attacked near their hotel and Frank’s watch was stolen. In the attack Frank was hit in the head and had to be hospitalized there for a concussion. (Keep in mind that someone who has had a head injury should never be given an antidepressant. Wellbutrin is one of the only antidepressants with strong warnings of this though.)
Then not long after they returned home to Utah Frank within a very short period lost five friends to death. (When you are elderly that does begin to happen. It is normal.)  But rather than look at it as a normal process of life, their  doctor immediately put Frank on Prozac to cope with the loss of so many friends in such a short time.
Within only one week on Prozac Frank was diagnosed with Rapid Onset Alzheimer’s. The facility issuing the diagnosis let the family know that they wanted to commit him to a long term facility. Luckily their daughter, Lola Van Wagenen Redford, put her foot down and refused, She asked
them instead to take him off the Prozac.
They refused. And when she told them they would take him home and take him off the drug themselves the facility wished them luck in getting him off Prozac! (This was in 1991 and after only one week on the drug! Clearly they had already learned the extremely addictive qualities of this mother drug of all the SSRI and SNRI antidepressants.)
The family was able to get him off the drug safely and Frank miraculously recovered from his rapid onset Alzheimer’s! The only long term effect that stayed with him was that he never did regain any recall for that short time that he was on Prozac. All memory of that was gone for him.
Now after two decades of leading the nation in the use of the Prozac family of antidepressants, Utah has gained the number two spot for leading the nation in Alzheimer’s cases! Obviously it is long overdue that Utah, the nation and the world wake up to the connection between Alzheimer’s
Disease and antidepressants.
Alzheimers, as is the case with autism and Bipolar, is a condition of elevated serotonin levels. Utah is the antidepressant, ice cream and jello capital of the nation, and they are a home of the sugar beet industry – all of which increase serotonin levels. So it should be no surprise that Utah has some of the highest rates of Alzheimers, autism and Bipolar nationwide.
Remember that with Fen-Phen & Redux it was the elevated serotonin that produced the gummy gooey glossy substance to build up on heart valves. They now have research demonstrating that in Alzheimers there is a gummy, gooey, glossy substance that builds up in brain tissue. Search Dr. Cade’s research at the University of Florida. He took children who were autistic or schizophrenic off dairy & 80% had their symptoms disappear.
If Utah went on a dairy-free, jello-free, sugar-free, Nutrasweet-free, antidepressant-free, atypical-antipsychotic-free, pain-killer-free, tussin-cough-syrup-free, etc. diet (since all of these are known to increase serotonin levels) our Alzheimer’s rate would plummet! But that plan would not make billions for big Pharma.
I also agree with the first commenter to this article below that The China Study is an excellent reference.
Ann Blake-Tracy, Phd, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness

Utah No. 2 in nation for Alzheimer’s

Carrie A. Moore


Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009 12:03 a.m. MST

Memories of the year his parents hid a Red Ryder
BB gun behind the Christmas tree come easily to John Stone.

In fact, he can even recount the exact number of
BB cartons he emptied before his parents woke up that frosty morning in
Lewiston, Idaho.

But at 71, John forgets what he had for breakfast today.

His mind can’t hold a current thought long enough to retrieve hot dog buns at the grocery store. Or to remember which key does what on the computer. Or that a dear friend he spoke with at church isn’t a
new acquaintance.

John is one of 30,000 Utahns who have Alzheimer’s disease, the second highest incidence in the nation, according to the 2009 Alzheimer’s Association Disease Facts and Futures report. That is
likely due to the fact that Utahns live longer, and it plays into projections
that during the next decade, the Intermountain West will see the nation‘s
greatest increase in Alzheimer’s patients, the report said.

For John Stone, Alzheimer’s disease has stolen the present while preserving the past. So as his wife, Judy, wrote the annual Christmas letter last month, she decided it wouldn’t be real without a paragraph telling extended family and friends about her Parkinson’s disease and John’s
Alzheimer’s — a decision he agreed to but likely doesn’t remember.

Not the kind of happy news they had been used to
sharing over the years. “Coming out of the closet,” as Judy put it, was
difficult because “the last thing I wanted was for people to feel sorry for us.
… It was just time to tell people what’s going on in our lives.”

In a society where the most lurid details of
celebrities’ lives are updated daily in the media, there is still something of a
social taboo about Alzheimer’s. What will people think? How will they react? Or

People 65 and older have a 1 in 8 chance of acquiring Alzheimer’s, and those who live to 85 have a 47 percent chance of developing the disease. And Utahns who do so “tend to stay here. They don’t move
to Florida,” like they do in so many other states, according to Nick Zullo,
program director at the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah.

Judy Stone has become part of those statistics, as one of more than 90,000 family caregivers statewide. As she plans the family Christmas party, she knows John will enjoy the celebration. He just won’t remember much, if any, of it.

At 63, Judy wasn’t yet ready to retire from teaching English at Skyline High School after her own diagnosis a few years ago, though it got to the point “I couldn’t read my own handwriting.”

John’s diagnosis earlier this year made the decision about whether she should retire.

Both had teaching careers they loved, built a life around their children and saw a future very different from the one that faces them. “It’s crazy that we both have a neurological disease,” and while
some treatments are available, neither condition has a cure.

Judy says the thought of losing motor control is
daunting, but the loss of memory seems overwhelming at times.

A former building contractor who found a second
career as a teacher for the disabled, John “knows what’s happening to him,” Judy
says. Though he “works hard to please me and do the things that need doing
around the house” like folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher, “I think he
feels like he can’t do anything anymore. He’s lost his confidence.”

To keep them both as active as possible, one of their daughters has created “John and Judy’s Medical Book,” a three-ring binder that organizes information about all their medications and possible side
effects, list of bills and other items that need regular attention, as well as
summaries of past doctors’ visits to help them track the progression of both
their conditions.

It also contains a daily schedule, laid out hour by hour, which Judy calls “invaluable” at helping them create a daily routine that includes exercise, healthy eating, social activities and cognitive mind
games. TV is limited to a hour or two after dinner, and bedtime comes early.

While the routine has helped give purpose that can often evaporate along with memory, Judy knows things will likely have to be adjusted over time as their abilities change. She’s learned to be both
optimistic — and realistic — about the future.

“Life goes on. It’s not totally bad, and it can be good at times. I think there always has to be a silver lining. Maybe if it brings us closer together, that’s the silver lining,” she says, eyeing the
brightly lit tree and an antique Christmas stocking on the fireplace that
belonged to John’s father, who also died of Alzheimer’s.

As for how this Christmas — and the next one, and the next — will mark the changes ahead as they age, “who knows?” she says. “We just have to focus on turning lemons into lemonade.”

Every minute. Every hour. Every day.


© 2009
Deseret News Publishing Company | All rights

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