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.