Dementia:
Dementia is a gradual loss of mental abilities unlike Alzheimer's and dementia is generally associated with aging of the brain.  Alzheimer's disease does account for a majority of dementia like symptoms in the elderly however it is a true disease with known etiology (see below) that spreads through the brain destroying brain tissue.  In dementia there is specifically a loss of the 3 specific brain function:
  • Episodic memory, i.e. personal episodes ...recalling memory of specific events that one has participated in (first person perspective).  Generally longer term memory of  non-participating things or events, such as specific skills and habits of daily activities are generally unaffected. 
  • Processing Speed, is another area that appears to decline with age. Ones ability to do fluid processing of tasks and decision making.
  • Executive Function, also referenced as frontal cortex/frontal brain function allows one to reason, i.e. between good ~ bad and strategy in decision making.
Unfortunately the reason for this is that the area of the brain responsible for the above functions appear to decline significantly/quicker in the aging brain.
It should be noted that in Parkinson's disease dementia is an inevitable outcome over time as well as any stroke effects these key brain areas.
The good news is that everyone is affected at different rates depending on how well you lived your life in prior years!
Prevention/ recommendations to minimize earlier onset of dementia signs are well known.
  • Exercise is by far the most important factor that has a generalized benefit in all categories discussed on this page.
  • Social interactions stimulates more areas of the brain with better long term outcomes that brain games of all sorts.
  • Diet can not be ignored.  Our brain consumes a majority of our metabolic energy. Optimal food sources result in optimal metabolism and tissue repair/growth.
  • Inflammation, Mouth/Dental Hygiene is often an overlooked factor as a precipitating factor in chronic inflammation.
  • On a personal note, I have a philosophy on the topic of environmental toxins ...Friends don't let friends walk around with amalgam fillings in their mouth.  All amalgam filling leak mercury a potent neurotoxin.  The levels of mercury in our foods and environment are also a factor. This is a personal conviction of mine observed from my many decades of clinical practice.  I always check for amalgams and test for heavy metal (mercury Hg toxicity levels in every patient).  I also believe the level of mercury toxicity is the single most significant medical factor in longevity! Follow this link for additional information on my website. I can not emphasize enough this topic and the adverse systemic effects of amalgam fillings on one's health as this has become a primary focus on every patient.
Tips for Longevity
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Prevention Strategies is the key to longevity   
Dementia & Alzheimer's
Stroke
Heart Disease
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Stroke:  
There are basically to types of  stroke in the brain: 
Hemorrhagic  (blood leaking out of blood vessels in the brain)
Ischemic          (blood is blocked from traveling thru vessels in the brain due to a clot traveling from somewhere else in the body [Embolism]  &
[Thrombotic] when a blood clot forms directly in a brain blood vessel due to increased turbulence or plaque formation inside a blood vessel)
... Most common form of stroke.
TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attack) is essential a mini stroke due to a temporary blood restriction to a part of the brain ...early warning signs???
Reduce ones risk of stroke   (additional information national stroke association)
  • Exercise don't let gravity get you down ...seriously; one has to keep the juices moving to maintain integrity of our plumbing.
  • Keep the inside of your blood vessels clean.  Watch what you eat.
  • Mouth/Dental Hygiene is often an overlooked factor.  Gum disease is often high on the list for sources of chronic inflammation contributing significantly to heart disease, arterial plaguing, and chronic pain syndromes.
  • Don't let your blood pressure get to high.
  • Unfortunately irregular heartbeat, murmurs etc. cause turbulence of blood flow increasing risk of blood clot forming.  Active steps are necessary when this condition is present.
  • No smoking ...that goes what further explanation.
  • Eating well and smaller amounts as we age.
  • Stroke symptoms should be considered a medical emergency. The quicker emergency medical care is implemented the better the outcome. Minutes are crucial.
Heart Disease:  
There is a lot of information on this topic from many sources and I would like to basically add to the discussion: 

  • Mouth/Dental Hygiene is often an overlooked factor.  Gum disease is often high on the list for sources of chronic inflammation contributing significantly to heart disease via systemic arterial inflammation resulting in plaguing and arterial blockage.
  • Heavy metal toxicity, as described in the dementia section, acting as a neurotoxin greatly affects the nerve conduction in the heart and I believe is a significant overlooked factor when dealing with mercury toxicity.  Often the first signs is increasing systemic congestion resulting in reduced benefits from exercise, blood pressure issues, and reduced tolerance to physical activities.  These are factors I routinely monitor and neutralize.
Alzheimer's Disease:
While Dementia is a gradual loss of mental abilities and is generally associated with aging of the brain, Alzheimer's is considered a progressive disease of now questionable causology.  Recent research with funding by Dr. Leslie Norins suggests that the cause of brain neuron death from amyloid protein may not be the whole story.   Dr. Norins and follow up research is beginning to show stronger evidence that the root cause maybe a herpeutic virus HHV-6 & HHV-7 (common herpeutic virus are simplex I & II, Roseola, Epstein Barr, Cytomegla, etc.).  If this research proves correct, it would dramatically change  our understanding of Alzheimer's.

Additionally, the theory of herpeutic virus(s) as causative is ground breaking in that amyloid protein thought to be the cause of brain neuron death may actually be the brain's immune system response to reduce further spread of the viral infection.  If the cause does turn out to be a potent herpeutic virus, treatment options and prevention could soon be available.

On a personal note, Herpeutic viruses are one of the most challenging conditions treated in the office.  It requires a four stage approach:
  • Optimizing the immune system both innate and adaptive components
  • Stabilize emotional stressors
  • Elimination of physiology stressors (body and nervous system)
  • Retraining the immune system to kill the viruses and most importantly identifying the hiding places of the virus in organs, hard & soft tissues, glands, and all neural tissues.