My dad sold sofa beds, and my mom was a travel agent, so I’m not sure how my brother and I both became neurologists. My brother is 13 years older than me, and when he was a neurology resident at Mount Sinai Hospital, I spent the night on call with him when I was 12. He probably had something to do with me becoming a doctor.
I went to an accelerated six-year B.A./M.D. program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine at age 17, finished my B.A. at 19 and got my medical degree at 23. I became interested in studying Alzheimer’s disease because of my Uncle Bob. When I was 3, I fell into my aunt’s pool and sank to the bottom. Uncle Bob, who was in the Navy, jumped in and rescued me, so he and I always had this connection. When I was in high school and applying to medical programs, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 70. It just was like, “Wow, we can’t do anything? There’s no treatment?” In all, four of my family members have been diagnosed with the disease — including my dad’s cousin, whom I helped treat and eventually diagnose.
Read the complete story at HealthMatters.nyp.org.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, M.D., specializes in neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is the founder of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic (APC), Weill Cornell Memory Disorders Program, and a trustee of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. He is also the author of two best-selling books, The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet and Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide.