Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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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