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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Straus Lecture, Dec. 6

Tawakol To Discuss Heart-Brain Interactions, Lowering CVD Risks

headshot of Tawakol

Dr. Ahmed Tawakol

Dr. Ahmed Tawakol will present “Novel Insights Into Heart-Brain Interactions and Neurobiological Resilience,” on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from noon to 1:15 p.m. ET via VideoCast. 

Tawakol is director of nuclear cardiology and co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. His talk is the 2023 Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies, an annual event sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in honor of its founding director Straus. 

Tawakol and his team have developed and validated molecular imaging approaches to measure atherosclerotic inflammation and to study multisystem disease processes that drive atherosclerosis. He will review study findings that have shed light on mechanisms underlying heart-brain interactions, especially neuro-immune-cardiovascular pathways. Other topics include social, environmental and genetic modulators of those pathways; “neurobiological resilience” as a concept; and lowering stress-related neural activity to reduce risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lifestyle interventions to support this will be discussed. Multisystem studies on interconnected organs and systems will be a scientific theme in this talk and is a research priority at NCCIH.  

To receive the lecture link, register at For more information, visit The lecture is presented by NCCIH and supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health with a generous gift from Bernard and Barbro Osher. To request reasonable accommodation to participate, email by Nov. 29. 


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