As a physician by training, Dr. Greg Robinson, 53, could always count on a sharp mind and keen memory. So when HIV-associated cognitive impairments first developed in his early forties, the contrast was pronounced.
“I had short term memory problems so that I couldn’t remember lists of things beyond two or three,” recalls Robinson. “I had difficulty remembering names and getting a hold of common words.”
Summoning the names for the simplest of everyday objects became a challenge.
“I would say, you know the thing you put bread in and it makes it brown?”
Forgetting the word for “toaster” was only the beginning of his problems. Robinson noticed a dramatic decline in his fine dexterity—shaking and struggling to unlock his house or put his key in a car’s ignition. He also found his ability to work with numbers greatly diminished, making it hard to do medical research and impossible to continue his career as an epidemiologist and biostatistician.
After a series of clinical examinations, Robinson was diagnosed with mild neurocognitive disorder. Such cognitive impairments are frequent symptoms of HIV, occurring in about 30-50% of the HIV positive population.
Refusing to accept his condition as permanent, Robinson searched for ways to get better with friends.
“We tried crossword puzzles. We’d do Sudoku. There was one other program I tried that I didn’t get anything out of.”
Then Robinson heard about Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program, what would prove to be a life-changing moment. Robinson trained five days a week for two months with the software, noticing changes by only the halfway point.
The continuous feedback offered in the exercises motivated him to stick with the program. He watched with excitement as reports on his cognitive abilities continued to improve. “Everything was going up, up, up!” he remembers.
At the end of the training, Robinson was amazed by “the tremendous positive benefits.” His memory returned, his dexterity, his faculty with numbers—all of the cognitive impairments he experienced before were gone or greatly reduced. These clinically observed and measured gains had an incredible impact on his daily life.
“I’m back to full-functioning,” says Robinson. He now puts his medical expertise to use on a volunteer basis, providing sexual health education to children and teens. This late-life career shift required new knowledge and retraining, which Robinson completed with ease, thanks largely to the Brain Fitness Program.
Dr. Robinson’s story has inspired many of his friends and colleagues to start the program themselves, and one can easily understand why. They value his opinion as a trained medical doctor. He sampled the gauntlet of other “brain boosting” activities like crossword puzzles and a popular videogame—all without any relief. It was only when training with Posit Science that he saw improvements. He started with an inability to perform basic everyday tasks like unlocking a door or remembering short lists. A few months later, he was learning new medical knowledge and re-entering the workforce in public health. His own observations were supported by objective neurocognitive testing that demonstrably showed his progress.
The journey did not come easily, and Robinson concedes that at times it was difficult to commit to his training. But was it worth it?
“Oh yeah, I wouldn’t be re-dosing if I didn’t think so,” Robinson says, referring to the multiple times he’s restarted the program. “It’s so much easier the second and third time around.”
When thanked for his participation in an interview for this story, Dr. Robinson simply replied:
“No, thank you. And thank you Posit Science for giving me back my life. I’m enjoying it now!”