Latest Stories

How my grandma recovered–somewhat–from her Alzheimer’s disease

Following an experimental treatment, Mumcie was able to remember my mom’s name for the first time in nearly two years


People are shaped by their experiences. Memories become the foundation of every person’s understanding of the world in which he or she lives.

For example, when you walk into a kitchen to make dinner, your actions are almost unconscious. You know where to get the ingredients or which ones you need, how to make the food and how to plate it so you can eat it. Your memories are a foundation, and they provide the context for what you’re supposed to do in a given situation.

But when you have dementia, all of those environmental cues and awareness are ripped away. You struggle at every stage of action, because that once reliable foundational support has disintegrated.

Living with dementia is like living life as a series of single photographs, going from image to image without any context, understanding or connection. As a result, you are in a state of constant frustration and confusion. You are trapped in a body with a malfunctioning mind.

It’s a disease that chips away at your memory, thinking, language and, eventually, judgment and behavior, such that simple ideas such as your favorite food or trying to remember who your loved ones are disappear. Concepts that make you who you are are lost.


My grandmother, or Mumcie as I call her, has this debilitating disease. Some have said she developed symptoms of dementia after her husband’s passing, given the immense stress and sorrow she felt at the end of a fairytale 68-year marriage. Their passion, commitment and love for each other are what classic love stories are about. So losing her husband was a big blow to my Mumcie.

The gravity of her condition soon became evident. Her mood was in constant flux, swinging from anger and aggression to depression and indifference. She became disoriented and lost 40 lbs without her ever realizing it. She did not recognize her children and family, and her primary caregiver, my mom, did not know how to help her.

Then we read an article about an experimental treatment being conducted by UCLA’s Institute of Neurological Research. After doing their due diligence, my parents scheduled an appointment. When they got to visit the medical facility, there was one major caveat—the doctors warned them that the treatment was still in the testing stage, and to not expect any miracles.

But with no other remedy available for Mumcie’s spiraling condition, my parents made the brave decision to give her this experimental treatment. And wonder of wonders, the results were immediate. Although the doctors said not to expect a miracle, you could not help but think that God had granted us one.

Following treatment, Mumcie was able to remember my mom’s name for the first time in nearly two years, and was able to focus on her surroundings in addition to eating on her own. This is not to say that the treatment has cured her dementia entirely. But at least it seems to have arrested any further deterioration.

She is able to have conversations with people now, and has an appetite that does not require force-feeding. She even has energy and interest in doing things outside of her home.


The only disadvantage of the remedy is the rigorous treatment schedule and cost. The medicine needs to be injected on a weekly basis by a trained medical professional. It would not be practical to shuttle Mumcie between Manila and Los Angeles weekly for the duration of her natural life. Thus, the Institute recommended finding a doctor whom they could train to perform the procedure at home.

After an exhaustive search, Dr. Arnold Isidro was chosen, and he was able to complete the training required to administer the remedy. Now, Mumcie has weekly visits from Dr. Isidro in the comfort of her own home.

In spite of the permanent effect of the disease on Mumcie’s mental capacity and character, the treatment has been able to recover some of what she has lost. She is not as confused or frustrated as she once was.

It is very comforting to know that the medicine has extended her life, and gave her a better quality one at that. I am thankful that God has answered our prayers through advances in science.

If you have any loved ones in similar situations, please contact Dr. Isidro for questions at 0917-8742300.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Alzheimer’s disease , Dementia , Health , Lifestyle , Neurological Research , Stefan Carlos Golangco , UCLA

  • boybakal

    Never heard that one can recover from Alzheimer.
    The only thing I know is….prevention for further deterioration.

  • basilionisisa

    nice! Congratulations and may the good medicinal effect lasts longer than expected, if not make her recover fully. Thanks for the info. Good luck!

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  6. She has become the sex slave of her best friend
  7. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Most criticized books list includes Hunger Games, Perks
  10. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sub search for missing jet to be finished in week
  • 2 suspected victims of summary execution found dead in N. Cotabato
  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry in Korea
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus