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Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa (Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation): “You’re not a prisoner of your DNA”

Dhar­ma Singh Khal­sa, M.D.

What is your cur­rent job title and orga­ni­za­tion, and what excites you the most about work­ing there?
As the Found­ing Pres­i­dent and Med­ical Direc­tor at the Alzheimer’s Research and Pre­ven­tion Foun­da­tion for over 20 years, I am more excit­ed than ever about the pos­si­bil­i­ties for enhanced men­tal per­for­mance and brain longevi­ty for every­one.

Please tell us about your inter­est in brain health and per­for­mance. What areas are you most inter­ested in? What moti­vated you to pur­sue work in your field?
In the begin­ning of my inves­ti­ga­tion, I dis­cov­ered that chron­ic stress, via the release of the hor­mone cor­ti­sol from the adren­al glands, kills brain cells by the thou­sands in the hip­pocam­pus, or mem­o­ry cen­ter. I real­ized that this could lead to Alzheimer’s dis­ease, among oth­er prob­lems. I also knew from my stud­ies and per­son­al expe­ri­ence that lifestyle mod­i­fi­ca­tions, espe­cial­ly includ­ing yoga and med­i­ta­tion, could rem­e­dy that. This was the start of the ARPF.

What is one impor­tant thing you are work­ing on now, and where can peo­ple learn more about it?
We keep on design­ing and fund­ing research look­ing at the inte­gra­tive med­ical approach to the pre­ven­tion of Alzheimer’s. We espe­cial­ly are inter­est­ed in con­tin­u­ing to explore the mul­ti­ple pos­i­tive ben­e­fits of a sim­ple, brain-enhanc­ing yoga med­i­ta­tion exer­cise called Kir­tan Kriya, or KK. You can learn more about it Here.

What are 1–2 key things you’d like every per­son to under­stand about his/ her own brain and mind, that you think are com­mon­ly mis­un­der­stood?
1. You’re not a pris­on­er of your DNA
2. You can improve your brain func­tion, regard­less of your age and stage of life.

Where do you see clear “low-hang­ing fruit” to shape the future and the prac­tice of brain fit­ness?
I believe it’s impor­tant to con­tin­ue to cham­pi­on the notion that your lifestyle can influ­ence your brain fit­ness. I’d espe­cial­ly encour­age peo­ple to make their brain health their top pri­or­i­ty.

What would you like the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit to accom­plish?
The Sharp­Brains Sum­mit has been a great venue for sev­er­al years to dis­cuss new stud­ies, approach­es and per­spec­tives in the brain enhance­ment field. I would like the 2014 edi­tion to raise more pub­lic aware­ness that there are many things we can all do right now to max­i­mize our cog­ni­tive func­tion, cel­lu­lar health, and psy­cho-spir­i­tu­al well­be­ing.

Final­ly, if I may…what do YOU do to stay sharp?
I try to always remem­ber to put my health first. Besides that, I prac­tice yoga and med­i­ta­tion every day, have a seri­ous work out reg­i­men 5 times per week, and watch my diet. As for men­tal exer­cise, I write songs and play music, which is also great fun.

2014_SharpBrains_Virtual_Summit_Shaping the Practice and the Future of Brain FitnessThis con­ver­sa­tion is part of a new inter­view series with Spon­sors & Speak­ers @ 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit (Octo­ber 28–30th). You can reg­is­ter with a 10% dis­count using pro­mo­tional code: sharp2014. Please join us!

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Categories: Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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