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Illness leads Norwich doctor to pen book about ‘missing link’ in treatment

PUBLISHED: 18:50 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:31 26 February 2020

Dr Jo Dixon has written her memoirs after finding out she had been living with a congenital gut defect which she believes couldcould change the way dementia is treated. Picture: Jo Dixon

Dr Jo Dixon has written her memoirs after finding out she had been living with a congenital gut defect which she believes couldcould change the way dementia is treated. Picture: Jo Dixon

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A doctor has penned a memoir which she thinks could change the way dementia is treated after battling a mystery illness.

Dr Jo Dixon has written her memoirs after finding out she had been living with a congenital gut defect which she believes couldcould change the way dementia is treated. Picture: Jo DixonDr Jo Dixon has written her memoirs after finding out she had been living with a congenital gut defect which she believes couldcould change the way dementia is treated. Picture: Jo Dixon

Dr Jo Dixon, a former consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, was in her early 40s when she began feeling clumsy and forgetful.

The mother-of-four thought the symptoms bore signs of dementia after instances of being on a routine round and would forget where she was or what she was doing.

The experiences "terrified" her to write a living will and wishes for end of life care and search for what was wrong.

She written about her experiences in her self-published book called The Missing Link in Dementia.

Mrs Dixson, who has retired from medicine, said: "

"My illness began in 2010 with a series of chest problems. Then I started to feel exhausted all the time and would forget things and fall over. I regularly experienced sharp pains in my hands and feet.

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"I'd tell myself I was just being clumsy.

"It was only when I trapped my fingers in a car door and didn't even notice because the feeling in them had gone that I realised I must be seriously ill."

After much research and trips to her GP she discovered that she had been born with a congenital gut defect in her small intestine.

The bacteria overgrowth stopped her body from absorbing thiamine, or vitamin B1 which is widely available in common foods, including eggs, pork, yeast, wheat bran and cod.

Following an intravenous boost, Dr Dixon felt "back to her old self" and began researching the role thiamine plays in keeping people healthy.

She said she carried out extensive investigation and discovered the gut bacteria and the resulting thiamine deficiency could be linked to a range of conditions - including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, IBS, the metabolic syndrome and even anxiety.

Dr Dixon said: "I decided to write my book in the hope that it will stimulate new research into thiamine and the role of the gut in dementia.

"It's startling to think that a treatment for the UK's biggest cause of death could be cheap, simple and readily available."

The book is available to buy on Amazon as a paperback and eBook.


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