A Tattoo on my Brain


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Prologue; 1. Beacon Rock; 2. Forewarned and Forearmed; 3. The Smell of Baking Bread; 4. Sneak Preview; 5. A Stubborn Puzzle; 6. The Locked Box and the Family Tree; 7. The Measure of Memory; 8. Orcas, Nonetheless; 9. My Brain, My Self; 10. The Reveal; 11. Cognitive Reserve: Brain Cells in the Bank; 12. My Experimental Life; 13. When ARIA is More Than an Operatic Solo; 14. My Experiential Life: Living with Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease; 15. Madeleines, Music and African Doves; 16. It's Only Scary if You Look Down; 17. Beyond DNA: Family History Reconsidered; 18. NEWS AT 5: Retired Neurologist Battles Alzheimer's; 19. The Forest, the Trees and the Ground Beneath My Feet; 20. What's in a Name? Alzheimer's Reimagined; 21. A Meaningful Outcome; Epilogue: The Writing Life; Appendix: The MIND Diet Basics; Resources; Index.

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An engaging account of a neurologist's experience with an Alzheimer's diagnosis, a disease he spent decades treating in others.

About the Author

Daniel Gibbs is a retired neurologist in Portland, Oregon with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Having spent twenty-five years caring for patients, many with dementia themselves, he is now an active advocate for the early recognition and management of Alzheimer's. Teresa H. Barker is journalist and nonfiction book cowriter whose collaborations include strong narrative treatments of subjects including medical science, creative aging, child and adult development, parenting and life in the digital age.


'As a neurologist with early-stage Alzheimer's, Dr Daniel Gibbs offers a uniquely insightful, candid, and compassionate view from both seats. A Tattoo on My Brain is essential reading for any family living with an Alzheimer's diagnosis.' Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting
'The patient perspective in Alzheimer's is often sorely missing from international dialogue and debate about this demon disease. Dr Daniel Gibbs, whom I'm honored to call a friend in this journey, has connected the serpentine dots between the patient and the medical profession in his brilliant work, A Tattoo On My Brain. As a retired neurologist and now a patient, Dr Gibbs writes with great passion, knowledge and perseverance. His resolve reminds me of William Ernest Henley's poem Invictus: "My head is bloody, but unbowed." A Tattoo On My Brain is a must read for the world.' Greg O'Brien, author of On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's
'When a neurologist experiences a so-called neurodegenerative condition such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson disease they are often equipped uniquely to provide insight into a condition that non-medically qualified patients may lack. In this unique work, A Tattoo on my Brain Dr Gibbs tracks in meticulous detail the earliest symptoms of what was diagnosed subsequently as Alzheimer's disease. This work will have major appeal to lay people, especially those caring for an affected family member but also to neurologists, neuropsychologists and those involved in trial of new medications.' Christopher H. Hawkes, Honorary Professor of Neurology, Barts School of Medicine and Dentistry, Honorary Consultant Neurologist, Barts Health, Author of Smell and Taste Disorders
'Dr. Gibbs provides a first-hand account of his journey as a neurologist living with early-stage Alzheimer's that is thoughtful, educational, humorous and poignant. I highly recommend this book to patients and families living with Alzheimer's, and to doctors and scientists dedicated to studying the disease and developing new therapies.' Gil Rabinovici, Professor of Neurology, University of California San Francisco
'A Tattoo on My Brain describes Dr. Daniel Gibbs' amazing journey from neurologist to patient living with Alzheimer's disease. Clues crop up along the way, a genetic marker for Alzheimer's, strange odors and memory glitches that tipped him off that his brain was starting to malfunction. He underwent advanced brain scans that showed the buildup of amyloid plaques and he joined a clinical trial to remove them. He vividly describes the side-effects that briefly turned his world upside down. But Dr. Gibbs emerges from this odyssey in good shape, with wisdom and reflection urging readers to learn about their risk for Alzheimer's disease and take steps to prevent it.' Stephen Salloway, Director of Neurology and the Memory and Aging Program, Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, and Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Professor of Neurology, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
'... profoundly moving ... his memoir is a symbol of resistance that has muted the conversation about Alzheimer's among patient and doctors, family members and as a society.' Alex Merrick, The Bookbag
'Part memoir and part self-help guide, this book sees Gibbs reveal the importance of building your cognitive reserve with preventative measures early in life.' Natasha Harding, The Sun
'A Tattoo on My Brain is Dan Gibbs' personal account of living with a biomarker-defined diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Notably, he's a retired neurologist. The result is a story of two very distinct, even antagonistic, experiences. There's the intense, personal subjectivity of being a patient and the sharp objectivity of being a physician who has diagnosed and cared for persons with the same disease. In one book is one narrative of two perspectives embodied in one person. The result is a candid, unadorned and vivid self-dissection that reveals what it's like to lose one's mind just a little bit at a time. I'm routinely prescribing this book to my patients.' Jason Karlawish, author of The Problem with Alzheimer's
'... powerful, informative, and intensely personal story of a recently retired neurologist diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease ... Readers are enabled to become Gibbs's companions on his path. Highly recommended.' L. R. Barley, Choice Connect

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