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Mitchell Clionsky

Clionsky Neuro Systems, USA [02:15 - 03:00 PM]

Title: Dementia Prevention: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Keynote Lecture


Dementia is a progressive neurological condition. Whether Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Vascular Dementia (VaD), Lewy Body Dementia (DLB) , or a variety of other types, there are growing numbers of people worldwide affected by brain degeneration as our population ages. Unchecked, dementia robs people of their independence and their personhood. It also exacts a terrible financial and personal toll on society and caregivers.
Dementia is also the most common health concern for people in their 50s and older, with 80% reporting that they are somewhat or very concerned about getting this disease. And most of these people don’t believe there is much they can do about it.
Surprising to them, we now know that half of all dementias are preventable. That’s right! Gold standard, large scale studies (Lancet Commission 2017 and 2020, US Health and Retirement Study 2023) demonstrate that 40% to 60% of all dementias can be avoided if we know what to do and then act on that knowledge. And, even when a person already has a diagnosis of dementia or its predecessor, Mild Cognitive Impairment, these same dementia prevention strategies can slow down disease progression or even lead to improvement in thinking and function.
In the past few years, most attention has been focused by major pharmaceutical companies and dementia organization on treating Alzheimer’s Disease exclusively, and by removing beta amyloid plaque to accomplish this goal. This approach ignores the fact that pure AD affects only a minority of dementia patients (many who have mixed or other pathologies) and that amyloid burden correlates only generally with cognitive and behavioral deterioration. Even more importantly, removing amyloid plaque fails to improve cognition and only marginally results in slower deterioration, perhaps not even to the level already achieved with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that have been available for 30 years. 
For people who do not yet have dementia, and even for those who do, a focus on prevention offers greater opportunity to avoid this disease group and improve lives. And the cost of prevention is incredibly small in comparison with amyloid removing medications.  
In this keynote, our speaker will discuss a new model of dementia prevention and how anyone can apply this model to their personal lives. 



Mitchell Clionsky, Ph.D., is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist practicing in Western Massachusetts. In his 45-year career Dr. Clionsky has evaluated more than 30,000 older people to determine their diagnosis and has consulted with their doctors and families on how to make important changes in care and lifestyle to improve their prognosis. Along with his physician wife, Emily Clionsky, MD, an internist and psychiatrist, he has written the 2023 book, Dementia Prevention: Using Your Head to Save Your Brain, published by Johns Hopkins University Press
For this book, the Drs. Clionsky reviewed a multitude of studies from diverse fields of medical science, including neurology, psychiatry, psychology, cardiology, endocrinology, pulmonology, audiology, sleep medicine and exercise physiology. They have relied on only the most validated findings and ignored the fads and quackery. They have translated this body of work into language that everyone can understand and created a new model of dementia prevention. This model shows that there is no single cause for dementia, but rather a number of risk factors that, together, raise or lower your reduce your risk of losing your brain function as you age.

In this talk, Dr. Clionsky will explain their model and demonstrate how you can use a free Dementia Prevention Checklist from their website ( to determine your own dementia risk profile. He will also discuss ways in which health care providers can overcome obstacles to engage their patients in making the changes that will significantly lower than risk now and in the future.

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