Dr. Ronald Petersen & Mike Hughbanks Article


Dr. Ronald Petersen, Ph.D., M.D. currently serves as the director of the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. In 2011, Dr. Petersen was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to serve as chair of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research. He has authored over 800 articles on memory disorders, aging and Alzheimer’s disease and has edited five books.

To say that Dr. Petersen is a significant force in the fight for Alzheimer’s would be a gross understatement. It was my pleasure to spend a few minutes with him.


Dr. Petersen was in Omaha at UNMC speaking to a group of about 200, “How Early Can We Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease”. The lecture was part of the “Denham Harman, M.D., Ph.D. Lectureship in Biomedical Gerontology”.

Several news outlets were on hand for the lecture. The Omaha World Herald interviewed Dr. Petersen, Dr. Daniel Murman from UNMC (my doctor) and I. The shortcut to the article is below.


KETV, the Omaha ABC affiliate was also on hand, their web post is attached below.


Early detection used to be difficult. Using PET scans, MRI’s and spinal taps enable physicians to make earlier diagnoses. The benefits of early diagnosis are many. People can better prepare themselves for lies ahead. There are drug trials under way that they could participate in. Support groups are available for both the diagnosed and their families. There are medications that can help also.

In my case, detection early has enabled me to go on Aricept. Evidence is starting to show that many things we do every day could help with the impact and possible slow down the progression. They jury is still out but it looks promising. We are eating a heart healthy diet. We are experimenting with the Mediterranean diet. I also make smoothies for Debra and I. I will post a few of our favorite recipes for smoothies in a future post along with some favorite Mediterranean recipes.

Early detection also can be a wake up call to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Diet. According to the Centers For Disease Control’s National Center for Disease Statistics, our country suffers from being overweight or obese. The numbers are shocking and they are getting worse. Comparing 1962 to 2012, we are going the wrong direction.

Age-adjusted prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity
among adults aged 20-74 in the United States.
Survey Period Overweight Obese Extremely Obese
1960-1962 31.50% 13.40% 0.90%
2001-2002 34.40% 31.20% 5.40%
2011-2012 33.30% 35.30% 6.60%

Physical and mental activity. Staying physically active is very important. I think after diagnosis, people tend to withdraw physically, mentally, and emotionally which is not a healthy thing to do. There is evidence to show that we need to stay active physically and mentally. I realize I sound like a broken record, but this is really important. I try to walk 3 miles a day. I have a fitbit that tracks my steps, miles, stairs, and will show calories burned. Mental activity is important also. Dr. Petersen was clear to point out that he was not just talking about mind games. Staying alert and mentally active also means staying socially active and engaged.  Reading, keeping up with the news whether on TV or the internet. Mental tasks such as grocery lists or to do lists I find helpful. I try to challenge myself even though I know that I have deficits in the areas of multi-tasking and decision making.

These are just some of the reasons I think early detection is important. I have met people who are newly diagnosed that already have substantial deficits and I wish they had been diagnosed earlier. It is very important to seek medical advice if you are noticing any of the symptoms. Here is the shortcut to the Alzheimer’s Website for the 10 Warning Signs.



2016 Courage Award at the Growing Hope Gala

The Growing Hope Gala was March 19, it was a fantastic event. It was a night of wonderful food, great conversation, some surprises, and all for a good cause.

The Emcee for the evening was Ahman Green. Yes, for you Husker/Packer fans, we had the privilege of sitting at the table with Ahman Green and his wonderful mother in law. Viv Ewing and her husband Jon along with my oldest daughter Brianne and her husband Jody made our table complete. It was a good time of visiting while we enjoyed fantastic food.

One of the surprises of the evening for Debra and I was the presence of some of my work associates from DFS. Roger Fleury and his wife Pam. Roger was the President at DFS when I started in 1998. Roger was recently promoted and works for the Lauritzen organization. Jeff Focht and his wife Nora. Jeff is the President of DFS and was also working for DFS when I started 18 years ago. Jamie Fiala and her husband Pat. Jamie is the HR Manager at DFS. Mike Larsen and his wife Amy. Mike is in the IT department of DFS. Mike and Jamie were both part of the Operations Group when I was the COO. I value their friendship and support. I am very thankful to DFS for their presence at the event. Laurtizen Corporation,  First National Bank, and DFS are very supportive of this cause. Everyone in Omaha is aware of the philanthropic efforts of the Lauritzen family. Their support is deeply appreciated!

This is link article that was published in the Lincoln Journal Star.


Below is a picture of Ahman Green with the event organizers that was published in “Strictly Business”, and the story published in their magazine.


The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) raised more than $83,000 during its inaugural statewide Growing Hope Gala on March 19, 2016. The Growing Hope Gala, set at the beautiful Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, featured signature drinks and food donated by local restaurants and bars, live painting by local artists and a silent auction. The inaugural 2016 Courage Award was given to Mike Hughbanks of Omaha for helping to promote a greater understating and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, dispelling public misperceptions and moving people to take action. Hughbanks was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease last year at the age of 58. More than 150 people attended the event, which was also supported by a smaller satellite party in Lincoln. The Association would like to thank all of the guests and sponsors who helped to make the Gala a success, including Platinum Sponsors: CountryHouse Residences, Pen-Link, First National Bank, and High Plains Alzheimer’s Special Care Center & Prairie Meadows Special Care Center. Save the date for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Growing Hope Gala! The statewide event will travel to Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln on February 11, 2017, and feature a Roaring 20s theme complete with dueling pianos. Featured in photo are Gala Co-Chairs Paul Hanson and Kali Tripp with Guest Speaker Ahman Green.

Home – Strictly Business Magazine | Lincoln

Thank you to both the Lincoln Journal Star and Strictly Business for the articles about the event.

What can you say about Lauritzen Gardens. If you are from the Omaha area and not been, you are really missing out. If you are not from the Omaha area, and have the occasion to travel here you need to make time to visit the Lauritzen Gardens. They also host events like the Gala.

I was the recipient of the inaugural 2016 Courage Award for helping to promote a greater understating and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, dispelling public misperceptions and moving people to take action. There was a very nice video of Debra and I shown at the Gala but it is copyrighted, so I am unable to publish it on my blog or upload it to YouTube.

The award pictured below was sponsored by First National Bank.


It was a wonderful evening. Debra and I want to thank everyone involved. The recognition we received gives us the courage to continue telling our story and hoping to make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.