Dementia, a complex and often devastating condition affecting millions worldwide, has become an increasingly prominent concern in our aging society. As the prevalence of dementia-related disorders continues to rise, the need for comprehensive information and effective prevention strategies has never been greater.
In this review, we delve into the critical topic of dementia and explore how the book Dementia Prevention by Emily Clionsky, MD, and Mitchell Clionsky, PhD, tackles this pressing issue. With an aim to provide insights into the book’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as its relevance to those concerned about cognitive health, we embark on a journey to uncover the valuable knowledge and practical guidance it offers to readers striving to protect their brain’s future.
Emily Clionsky, MD, boasts 25 years of expertise as an internal medicine physician and holds the esteemed title of Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Throughout her career, she has provided care to numerous patients grappling with memory-related issues within her private medical practice.
Mitchell Clionsky, PhD, brings a remarkable 45-year track record as a certified clinical neuropsychologist, specialising in the assessment and treatment of individuals dealing with cognitive challenges such as dementia, ADHD, and traumatic brain injuries.
What is the book about?
Dementia Prevention by Emily Clionsky and Mitchell Clionsky is a comprehensive guide aimed at reducing the risk of developing all-cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other forms of dementia related to head trauma and various health conditions. The book challenges the notion that dementia is an inevitable consequence of ageing and emphasises the importance of proactive steps to minimise this risk.
The authors acknowledge that while previous research often focused on isolated factors like exercise, weight, blood pressure, genetics, and medications, recent multiple-factor theories have emerged. Notably, the British Lancet Commission’s dementia prevention paper of 2017 concluded that managing 12 medical conditions and health behaviours could potentially reduce global dementia cases by a significant 40%. A 2022 study further supported this by associating these 12 factors with a substantial 62.4% of dementia cases in the United States.
Emily and Mitchell Clionsky expand on these findings and present a holistic model of dementia risk factors, aiming to empower readers to take control of their brain’s future and reduce the chances of cognitive decline as they age. Their unique perspective stems from their roles as both researchers and clinicians, allowing them to combine scientific evidence with practical insights gained from working directly with patients and their families.
Table of contents
- Introduction. An Ounce of Prevention
- PART INature and Origin of Dementia
- 1. What Is Dementia?
- 2. Normal Cognitive Aging
- PART II Dementia Risk Model
- 3. Genetics and Early-Life Factors
- 4. Midlife Medical Conditions That Affect Dementia Risk
- 5. Lifestyle Factors of Smoking, Diet, and Exercise
- 6. Sleeping, Breathing, Breathing while Sleeping
- 7. Metabolic and Vitamin Deficiencies
- 8. Alcohol, Drugs, and Medications
- 9. Sensory and Emotional Factors That Amplify Dementia Risk
- 10. Putting It All Together in an Interactive Dementia Risk Model
- PART III Where You Stand and What You Can Do about It
- 11. Your Dementia Prevention Checklist
- 12. Everybody Wants to Feel Better, But Nobody Wants to Change
- 13. Use Your Head to Save Your Brain
- 14. Applying the Change Formula to Your Life Afterword. But What about …?
- For Further Reading
Three key takeaways from Dementia Prevention
1Lifestyle choices vastly influence dementia risk
Lifestyle factors significantly influence dementia risk. Smoking tobacco is unequivocally detrimental, contributing to half a million annual deaths in the United States and increasing the likelihood of cognitive decline. While there’s no magic food for dementia prevention, adopting diets like the Mediterranean or MIND diet may reduce risk, along with maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise is paramount, with studies consistently showing its benefits in protecting cognitive function. Both aerobic and resistance training are effective. These lifestyle choices have a profound impact on brain health, underscoring the importance of proactive measures in reducing the risk of dementia.
2Having a healthy breathing pattern is key to having a healthy brain
The book underscores the intricate relationship between sleep disruption, oxygen deprivation, and cognitive impairment. It highlights the prevalence of sleep disturbances in older adults and emphasises the critical role of sleep in cognitive health. The authors cite research that reveals a 50% higher risk of dementia and all-cause mortality in individuals with sleep disruption. Oxygen deprivation has a significant effect on brain function, especially thinking processes.
The book also discusses sleep apnoea, a common condition that leads to interrupted breathing during sleep and consequent cognitive challenges. It is important to diagnose and treat sleep apnea as a preventive measure against cognitive decline.
3Dementia can be prevented through behavioral change
The book emphasises the remarkable capacity of the human brain to imagine and effect change. By drawing on principles from cognitive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, the book underscores the pivotal role of our thoughts in shaping our behaviors and emotions.
The 10-step process outlined, from setting specific goals to persevering through setbacks, empowers individuals to proactively prevent dementia and cognitive impairment through deliberate, sustainable behavior changes. The key message is that it’s never too late to start, and with persistence and the right mindset, we can make meaningful improvements in our cognitive health.
Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Offers valuable insights into the latest research, evidence, and science in the field.
Avoids unfounded or magical solutions and offers gimmick-free approach with a focus on practical and evidence-based strategies
Includes a helpful checklist/matrix that allows readers to assess and address areas of concern related to dementia prevention.
While the book covers various aspects of dementia prevention comprehensively, it may not offer entirely new information to readers already well-versed in the subject.
Best quotes from Dementia Prevention
“Hypertension and cardiovascular illness, midlife obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and elevated LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels don’t occur in a vacuum. Behind these accelerators of dementia risk, there are lifestyle factors – smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity – that create or worsen those medical conditions.”
“One of the most amazing things about your being human is your ability to imagine what could be, to consider multiple and future options, choose a desired outcome, and then put a plan in place to achieve that goal. You can use the powers of your neocortex, the “new brain” that controls language, imagination, planning, and higher order thinking, to counteract some of the effects of cause-and-effect discontinuity, as discussed in the last chapter. You can use images, concepts, and beliefs that you can hold in your mind to change your behavior. This process of setting goals and labeling them is part of what we call cognitive psychology.”
“This relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and cognition is what we call the “Brain–Breathing Connection.” Such consistent findings suggest that we need to consider breathing and oxygen in any study of new medicines for dementia. They also suggest that we must identify and treat sleep apnea when it is present when someone comes into a doctor’s office complaining of problems thinking or remembering.”
Dementia Prevention by Emily Clionsky, and Mitchell Clionsky is an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to understand and reduce the risk of dementia. With a strong foundation in medical expertise and a holistic approach to dementia prevention, the authors offer readers a comprehensive understanding of the subject. They emphasise the significance of lifestyle choices, the critical role of healthy sleep patterns, and the power of behavioural change in safeguarding cognitive health.
While readers already well-versed in dementia prevention may find some information familiar, this book is a must-read for those concerned about ageing and dementia, offering practical, evidence-based strategies to empower individuals to take control of their brain’s future and reduce the risk of cognitive decline as they age.
Where to buy
You may purchase Dementia Prevention on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, hardcover, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.
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