Women’s Health Symposium to Focus on Memory and Aging

How the brain ages and the lifestyle choices that can denigrate the mind will be the focus of Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation’s second annual Women’s Health Symposium, and first in-person, later this month. .

“As our society ages, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders are reaching epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Aimee Kao, associate professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Almost everyone knows or has a loved one with a neurogenerative disease. At the same time, neurogenerative disorders are far behind cancer, for example in the NIH [National Institutes of Health] funding. It is important to raise the profile of these disorders, invest in research and transform these life-threatening disorders into treatable and preventable disorders.

Kao, John Douglas French Foundation Endowed Professor at UCSF, and an accomplished panel of other UCSF physicians will lead the discussion.

The symposium, titled “Memory and Aging: What You Can Do Now,” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hanna Boys Center on May 18. It will also be broadcast live.

Panelists include Kao and Dr. Bruce Miller, AW and Mary Margaret Clausen Professor Emeritus of Neurology, Director of the Memory and Aging Center and Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute.

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. S. Andrew Josephson, Center for Pain and Addiction Research Advisory Board Member and Chair of the Department of Neurology.

“Dr. Kao and Dr. Miller are experts in their field and promise to engage guest speakers on the subject,” said Dave Pier, executive director of Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation (SVHF), the philanthropic arm of Sonoma Valley Hospital. (SVH).

Panelists will focus on exciting new findings about what people can do to reduce their risk of developing dementia. They will address questions such as:

Why does our brain age the way it does?

What helps your brain age healthily?

Can lifestyle changes create better brain health?

“First, we need to feel empowered to protect our own cognitive health through healthy eating, good habits, and cardiovascular exercise,” Kao said.

“Second, we are at a crossroads of research and neurodegeneration, abandoning some old ideas about plaque removal [from arteries] and moving towards a more upstream reflection on the basic mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

“Finally, we have entered the era of personalized medicine, which also applies to neurogenerative diseases. There may not be “one size fits all” therapies, and we need to be sensitive to individual and genetic differences. »

Miller said the topic of the symposium is particularly important for women because they are vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and need to be proactive in protecting themselves, adding that neurogenerative diseases are the costliest illnesses in the country.

He is excited about recent developments in disease.

“It’s an exciting time and we’re moving towards better diagnostics, treatment and even prevention,” he said. “We can all do our part.”

Event attendees are encouraged to arrive at the Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma, at 11:30 a.m. to pick up a box lunch. The panel will begin at noon, allowing plenty of time for a Q&A session.

After the presentation, participants are invited to meet and discuss with visiting physicians.

The cost of the symposium is $125 for those attending in person and $50 for those streaming the panel live. Places are available for the symposium by registering at SVHF website. Proceeds benefit women’s health and wellness services at SVH.

A portion of the event will be indoors, so all in-person attendees must be fully immunized.

Sonoma Valley residents Cherie Hughes, Marcia Levy and Joan Weill serve on the symposium steering committee and Prema Behan, Lindsay Bennett, Kimberly Blattner, Suzanne Brangham, Leslie Conway, Susan Idell and Judy Vadasz serve on the event committee.

Weill, who for the past 15 years has served as co-chair of the Women’s Health Symposium in New York for the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center and the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, offered to hold a similar symposium in Sonoma.

“I believe women need to be educated about their unique health needs,” Weill said. “Symptoms and illnesses are different for us, and we are the gateways to our family’s health.”

She and her husband, Sandy Weill, also founded the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences with the goal of “solving some of the most complex challenges in the human brain,” according to the website.

Pier welcomed the idea of ​​hosting the symposium.

“Joan and her husband, Sandy, have been involved with Sonoma Valley Hospital for several years, and she suggested that due to the recent affiliation with UCSF Health, the foundation could host a high-calibre educational symposium focused on women’s health,” he said. “We all agreed it was a great idea.”

The Affiliate Agreement was signed in early 2018 by UCSF Health and SVH to create an integrated healthcare network to serve the needs of Sonoma Valley residents.

SVHF’s inaugural Women’s Health Symposium, held on May 13, 2021, was a virtual event with the theme “Women Are Not Little Men”.

Joan Weill is pleased to see the growing interest and involvement of women in the symposium.

“It’s just the beginning and I hope to see it grow throughout the community,” she said.

“And having UCSF as a partner really helps our education because it’s ranked #1 in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery, and the first recipient of NIH grants. It’s a great opportunity for us to get the best out of both places.

Contact the reporter, Dan Johnson, at [email protected].

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