Retrogenesis: clinical, physiologic, and pathologic mechanisms in brain aging, Alzheimer's and other dementing processes

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999;249 Suppl 3:28-36. doi: 10.1007/pl00014170.


Data from clinical, electrophysiologic, neurophysiologic, neuroimaging and neuropathologic sources indicates that the progression of brain aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) deterioration proceeds inversely to human ontogenic acquisition patterns. A word for this process of degenerative developmental recapitulation, "retrogenesis", has been proposed. These retrogenic processes provide new insights into the pathologic mechanism of AD deterioration. An understanding of retrogenic phenonmena can also result in insights into the applicability of retrogenic pathologic mechanisms for non-AD dementing disorders. Management strategies based upon retrogenesis have recently been proposed. Retrogenic pathophysiology also points to previously unexplored pharmacologic approaches to dementia prevention and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychomotor Disorders / physiopathology
  • Reflex, Abnormal / physiology
  • Severity of Illness Index