Chair: Vonetta Dotson, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology and Gerontology
Georgia State University
Senior Project Scientist
Founder and President
CerebroFit Integrated Brain Health

Invited Symposium 1:

Strategies for Staving off Dementia – A Dynamic Conversation


“How can I lower my risk for Alzheimer’s disease?” If you are a clinical neuropsychologist working with older adults, you likely hear some form of this question from many of your patients. Without a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, neuropsychologists increasingly focus on behavioral strategies to prevent or delay the onset of dementia. A growing body of evidence supports the role of healthy lifestyle behaviors in dementia prevention, including exercise, cognitive and social engagement, nutrition, and sleep. In this symposium, three experts in dementia prevention will have a dynamic conversation centered around the question, “If you could only recommend one behavioral strategy to stave off cognitive decline or improve cognitive functioning, what would it be?” The session will include an overview by each presenter of their work in dementia prevention, a conversation among the presenters about their answer to the central question of the symposium, and a time for Q & A with the audience.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Vonetta Dotson is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Gerontology at Georgia State University, Senior Project Scientist at NASA (KBR), and Founder and President of CerebroFit Integrated Brain Health. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Clinical Neuropsychology. She completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Florida with a specialization in neuropsychology and a certificate in gerontology. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program. Her research and clinical activities focus on positive and negative modifiers of brain health, including the intersection of depression with cognitive and brain aging, and the impact of health disparities on brain health.

Jill Barnes, PhD
Dr. Jill Barnes, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with an affiliate faculty appointment in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Barnes received her undergraduate degree University of Michigan, her master’s degree and PhD degrees in Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Integrative Physiology at Mayo Clinic. Her laboratory focuses on understanding blood flow regulation in humans. More specifically her research investigates the effect of aging on vascular health, as well as the potential benefit of habitual exercise. Her current projects investigate the control of cerebral blood flow and how this may impact cognition with advancing age. Dr. Barnes has been funded by NIH, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Heart Association. She has received New Investigator awards from both the American Physiological Society and Mayo Clinic and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. She teaches undergraduate and graduate exercise physiology courses within the Department of Kinesiology.
Kaitlin B. Casaletto, PhD
As an Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, I am developing a research program examining how lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical exercise, mental stimulation) can be leveraged to shape age-related brain health. I am particularly interested in better characterizing the types of activities and understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the relationships between lifestyle and brain outcomes in both typical and abnormal aging. My current work (NIA K23) focuses on the use of biofluid markers of neural, immune, and vascular functioning as intermediate outcomes of healthy lifestyle behaviors. My long-term goal is to develop biologically-informed behavioral interventions that promote cognitive resilience and prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Aliyah Snyder, PhD
Dr. Aliyah Snyder is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Los Angeles and a neuropsychology research fellow at the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program where she studies ways of improving recovery after acquired brain injury/concussion. Specifically, her research focuses on the role of autonomic dysfunction after concussion and the impact of biobehavioral interventions for patients with persistent post-concussion symptoms. Dr. Snyder received her doctoral degree in the neuropsychology track of the clinical and health psychology program at University of Florida. While at UF, Dr. Snyder completed a predoctoral training fellowship in clinical and translational science (CTSI TL1) and founded Athlete Brain, a student-run organization dedicated to promoting concussion safety and awareness in the community. Her doctoral dissertation studied the effects of an aerobic exercise intervention implemented in a post-acute time frame after concussion. Dr. Snyder completed her clinical post-doctoral/fellowship training in the brain injury and sports neuropsychology track at UCLA in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.