Brain Longevity symposium



Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS

Dr. Lavretsky will present Neuroscience of Kundalini yoga and Kirtan Kriya in older adults.

In this presentation, we will review the results of innovative research co-sponsored by ARPF at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and human psychiatry and the Department of Psychiatry. Over the last 10 years, we have been studying a particular yogic meditation, Kirtan Kriya, in middle-age and older adults, which has provided novel pioneering discoveries of the underlying neural, cellular, and epigenetic mechanisms of response in cognitive and brain aging.

Bio: Dr. Lavretsky is a Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and a geriatric integrative psychiatrist with federally funded research program in geriatric depression and integrative mental health (NIMH, PCORI, and NCCIH) using mind-body interventions. She is a recipient of the Career Development award from NIMH, the NCCIH, and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of psychopharmacological treatment of geriatric depression, mild cognitive impairment, and Tai Chi and yoga for treatment and prevention of late-life mood and cognitive disorders. She is the President-Elect of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. She is the Semel Scholar in Integrative Mental Health and the Director of the Late-life mood, stress and wellness program and the Integrative Psychiatry research and clinical program.


Katerina Sheardova, MD, PhD

Dr. Sheardova will present the latest research and updates on the Czech Brain Aging Study (CBAS).

CBAS is a national longitudinal study on healthy aging, with the main focus on lifestyle and spiritual well-being factors as preventive measures of cognitive decline in the elderly. Original ancient yoga techniques will be put into the context of the 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention as described by ARPF. Over the last 11 years, Dr. Sheardova’s team has been collecting clinical, neuropsychological, biochemical, genetic and neuroimaging data together with lifestyle factors questioners in a cohort of subjects followed yearly. She has also performed non-pharmacological interventions in subjects at risk of AD. We can’t wait to share the amazing results of this study.

Bio: Dr. Sheardova’s principal research interests are to further the understanding of the epidemiology of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A primary focus of her research is the identification of biomarkers for the diagnosis and related lifestyle factors specifically spirituality in prediction and/or progression of Alzheimer’s disease. As a neurologist, Dr. Sheardova works with patients who have a wide range of memory disorders and performs clinical trials studying Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. She is presently working at the Neurology clinic of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, Czech Republic. Dr. Sheardova is also a member of the international advisory boards of several pharmaceutical companies involved in world-leading Alzheimer’s disease research and serves as the Assistant Science Officer for the Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. She publishes and lectures in this field of research internationally.


Christopher Walling, Psy.D, MBA, C-IAYT, SEP

Dr. Walling will present Psyche Means Soul: The Role of the Body In Spiritual Development.

What is the role of the body in spiritual development? This question has inspired countless academics, philosophers, and clinicians who explore the science of “psyche” or soul now for millennia. The intersections of physical life and spiritual life have ever converging findings as the applications of spiritual practices continue to show protective factors throughout the human lifespan. Join Dr. Christopher Walling, Adjunct Professor of Somatic Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and ARPF’s own VP for Education and Outreach as he explores new scientific findings on the mind-body connection and how this might take us ever deeper into questions about the relationship of our body to spirituality.

Bio: Dr. Walling is a licensed clinical psychologist, researcher and an active leader in the biobehavioral sciences. His work in academic medicine has included the administration of multidisciplinary leadership teams in hematology-oncology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and geriatric psychiatry at some of the top academic medical centers in the United States. His clinical focus in the behavioral sciences has examined the intersections of neuro-psychotherapy, affect regulation, and psychophysiology. Dr. Walling is an Adjunct Professor of Somatic Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Past-President of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, and an Associate Deputy-Editor of the International Body Psychotherapy Journal. He is a Clinical Supervisor at the Wright Institute of Los Angeles, a Clinical Associate at the New Center for Psychoanalysis, and is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium located at Indiana University where he and his colleagues are working to advance scientific insights from trauma psychology. Dr. Walling maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, California.