Lectures & Speaker Biographies

The Health Effects of Loneliness in Our Community
9:45 – 10:30 am
Carla Perissinotto, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor
UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Loneliness – the unpleasant feeling of emptiness or desolation – can creep in and cause suffering to people at any age. But it can be especially debilitating to older adults and may predict serious health problems. In this talk, you will learn about loneliness and social isolation and their effects on health. Organizations in the community working on these issues will be identified and potential strategies for addressing loneliness will be discussed.

What is Stroke and How Do I NOT Get One?
11:00 – 11:45 am
Wade S. Smith, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair
UCSF Department of Neurology

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the most common disabling disease. Fortunately, stroke is mostly preventable. Through the recognition and modification of stroke risk factors (high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea and a sedentary life style), your risk of stroke can be lowered dramatically. In addition to discussing these risk factors and how to reduce them, another serious – and silent – risk factor will be discussed: atrial fibrillation.

What You Can Do for Your Joints
1:00 – 1:45 pm
Andrew Gross, MD, Director of Clinical Programs
UCSF Division of Rheumatology

It's important to protect your joints to maximize their use, mobility and function for as long as you can. But it's not just about being able to coax your joints into action in the years to come – preventing or limiting the amount of pain or discomfort you feel today is a plus, too. Over time, even normal, healthy joints deteriorate, but you can minimize the effects by following the basic steps discussed in this talk. And if your joints are already in pain, tips will be provided to alleviate it and make life a little easier.

Harnessing Plasticity of the Older Brain to Enhance Cognition
2:00 – 2:45 pm
Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD
UCSF Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry

Our brains exhibit an amazing ability to modify their structure and function in response to new experiences, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Efforts to harness this plasticity to maintain, and even enhance, our brain function as we get older has led to an explosion of commercial brain training software. Unfortunately, many of these computer brain exercises do not transfer their benefits to untrained abilities. Dr. Gazzaley will present research by his laboratory at UCSF that explores the brain mechanisms that underlie sustainable and meaningful cognitive enhancement. He will share data from his latest experiments that show older adults can improve their abilities on cognitive control tasks via the use of custom-designed video games from his lab. He will conclude with a provocative discussion of his vision of the future, which combines video game training with brain stimulation, and neurofeedback to strengthen and rewire neural circuits.


Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry
Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, is the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UCSF; a professor of neurology, physiology and psychiatry; and principal investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, and their changes in aging. Gazzaley's research approach uses a combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation. His recent studies explore enhancing cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games and how this can be bolstered by closed-loop systems. Gazzaley has written more than 100 scientific articles, delivered more than 300 presentations worldwide, and had his research and perspectives profiled in high-impact media. Dr. Gazzaley earned a medical degree and a doctorate degree in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

Andrew Gross

Andrew Gross, MD
Chief, Rheumatology Clinic
Associate Professor, Division of Rheumatology

Andrew Gross, MD, is an expert in the treatment of lupus and director of clinical programs in rheumatology at UCSF Medical Center, where he also is rheumatology clinic chief. The Division of Rheumatology at UCSF – which treats conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), spondyloarthritis, scleroderma and vasculitides – is among the top 10 rheumatology programs in the nation, according to a ranking by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to treating patients, Dr. Gross conducts research on the deregulation of immune function in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Gross earned a medical degree at Tufts University in Boston. He then trained in internal medicine and rheumatology at Tufts-New England Medical Center, where he remained for another year as a faculty member in rheumatology. He joined the UCSF faculty in 2003 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in microbiology and immunology at UCSF.

Carla Perissinotto, MD

Carla Perissinotto, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor
UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Carla Perissinotto, MD, is dedicated to working in both community and academic settings, dividing her clinical activities between a community health setting at the Over60 Health Center in Berkeley and in working with UCSF Care at Home, which provides medical care to homebound older adults.  Dr. Perissinotto received her medical school training at Tufts University and completed both her internal medicine and geriatrics training at UC San Francisco. In addition, she holds a Masters in Health Science from Johns Hopkins University, from the Department of Population and Family Health. Dr. Perissinotto joined the faculty in August 2010 as a clinician-educator.

Dr. Perissinotto’s interests are in working with diverse communities and improving the training of internal medicine residents and all learners in the care of elderly patients. She also has a special interest in teaching primary care doctors how to more effectively recognize cognitive impairment in the outpatient primary care setting. Dr. Perissinotto is also a recipient of the HRSA Geriatric Academic Career Award 2010-2015, with which she is developing curricula to teach a wide range of learners on the care of elderly patients in diverse settings. She also recently gained national and international recognition for her research on the effects of loneliness on the health of older adults.

Wade S. Smith

Wade S. Smith, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair
Daryl R. Gress Endowed Professor of Neurocritical Care and Stroke
UCSF Department of Neurology

Wade Smith, MD, PhD, is chief of the UCSF Neurovascular Division and vice chair of the Department of Neurology. He received his medical degree and a doctorate in neurophysiology from the University of Washington in 1989. He came to the San Francisco Bay Area for residency training in UCSF’s Department of Neurology. He later completed a fellowship in critical care medicine at UCSF, where he helped establish the Neurovascular Division and opened the first stroke center in San Francisco.

Dr. Smith is a vascular neurologist and a neurointensivist: a neurologist trained in both critical care and stroke. He directs the UCSF Neurological Intensive Care unit, a 29-bed ICU dedicated to the care and resuscitation of patients with neurological injury.

The majority of patients treated at UCSF have diseases of the brain's arteries or veins, including stroke and cerebral aneurysm. Dr. Smith and his colleagues believe that a patient with a neurological problem significant enough to require intensive care deserves treatment by a neurointensivist. Dr. Smith is also expert in stroke and transient ischemic attack. His research involves developing new techniques for treating stroke including embolectomy.

Louise C. Walter

Louise C. Walter, MD
Chief, UCSF Division of Geriatrics
Acting Associate Chief of Staff, Geriatrics, Palliative and Extended Care, San Francisco VA Medical Center

Louise C. Walter, MD, is a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF, as well as a primary care geriatrician and the acting associate chief of staff for geriatrics, palliative and extended care at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Dr. Walter earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at Stanford University. She completed an internal medicine residency and a geriatrics fellowship at UCSF.

Dr. Walter is strongly committed to improving the care of older adults and to mentoring the next generation of clinical scientists in aging research.  She received the UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Faculty Mentoring Award in 2010 and the Society of General Internal Medicine’s Outstanding Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2013.  She was elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2012.

Currently, Dr. Walter serves on several national cancer screening guideline panels and is nationally known for her research on person-centered preventive care for older adults.