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Fig. 2 | Journal of Molecular Psychiatry

Fig. 2

From: Unified theory of Alzheimer’s disease (UTAD): implications for prevention and curative therapy

Fig. 2

“AD is a deficiency disease”. Our genetic program is not adapted to the fast and very recent changes that define our modern lifestyle, which connotes individual combinations of physical inactivity, an ad libitum eating pattern of a nutrient-poor diet, chronic distress emanating from the demands of a highly competitive labour situation, which often goes along with a loss of extended family bonds. Furthermore and under such conditions, the concept of retirement, a late invention in humans’ cultural history, counteracts the main purpose in late life from an evolutionary point of view : A lack in transgenerational generativity leads to a devastating lack of purpose in life. Deficiencies in essential requirements for mental health cannot, by definition, be compensated by our genetic program. Consequently, as defined by the law of the minimum, individual deficits hamper neuronal rejuvenation, and in particular hinder productive AHN. As the neuronal correlate of depression, the disturbed HPA axis regulation and cortisol hypersecretion as well as other pathophysiological consequences (neuroinflammation and breakdown of the blood brain barrier, insulin resistance, hypertension and arteriosclerosis) emanate from these lifestyle-derived deficits and lead to an accumulation neurotoxic Aβ, hippocampal shrinkage in particular, and brain atrophy in general, hence the well-known hallmarks of AD. Under these conditions of behavioural deficiencies, environmental toxins, chronic infections and genetic predisposition accelerate AD progression. The indicated interactions between the different pathological processes activate a multitude of vicious cycles that make the AD-process a runaway phenomenon, which can only be stopped and reversed to the situation depicted in Fig. 1 by a systems biological approach, which is outlined in the main text and schematically presented in Fig. 3

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