Finding Adequate Reward in Life: The Brain

PATH Foundation NY 2014

Brain Pic

Moderated by Eric R. Braverman, MD

The 2014 PATH Foundation NY conference was focused on the interaction between the brain, dopamine and reward. The conference had a special focus on the effects of concussions and CTE on contact-sport athletes as well.

Held at the lovely Canoe Studios in New York, the 2014 conference had a great turnout and a wonderful selection of speakers. PATH Foundation NY would like to thank all of those who made the conference a possibility, as well as those who attended.



Eric Braverman, MD

Assistant Professor of Integrative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College Assistant Professor, University of Florida College of Medicine, McKnight Brain Institute Founder and President, PATH Foundation NY

Dr. Braverman has authored several books and more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. His life's work is dedicated to the study of the brain chemistry and how it affects obesity, addiction, and memory loss, in addition to the wider role of integration of all medical specialties for the singular purpose of life extension.


Governor David A. Paterson

55th Governor of New York State

Governor Paterson is an advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and has campaigned for a new culture of health in New York State.


Joseph C. Maroon, MD

Vice Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical School

Dr. Maroon is Professor and Vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition to being a renowned neurosurgeon, he is a sports medicine expert, health and nutrition expert and Ironman triathlete.


Kenneth Blum, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine, McKnight Brain Institute

Dr. Blum has authored and edited over 400 peer-reviewed papers. He has studied numerous addiction disorders and coined the Brain Reward Cascade and Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). Dr. Blum was also the lead author in the first gene polymorphic association of the dopamine D2 receptor and alcoholism.


Mark S. Gold, MD

Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine

Dr. Gold has been recently selected as the 17th UF's Distinguished Alumni Professor. He is also a founder of the UF Center for Alcohol and Drug Research Education. He has developed models for understanding the effects of tobacco, drugs, and food on behavior.


Miri Ben-Ari

Violinist, Musician, Spokesperson

Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-Winning violinist, composer & producer, Goodwill Ambassador of Music for the United Nations Association of Brazil originally from Israel, has created her own unique sound - a revolutionary fusion of classical soul and dance music. She is recognized as a musical pioneer.


Nora D. Volkow, MD

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of drugs. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting frontal brain regions. She has published more than 530 peer-reviewed articles and has written more than 80 book chapters.


Paul Greengard, PhD

Nobel Laureate, Physiology or Medicine, and Vincent Astor Professor, Rockefeller University

Dr. Greengard received his PhD in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. He was previously director of biochemical research at the Geigy Research Laboratories. Since 1995, he has also directed the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research.


Yasmin Hurd, PhD

Director, MD/PHD Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Hurd is the Ward-Coleman Chair in Translational Neuroscience at Mount Sinai and Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology & Systems Therapeutics. She is also the Chair of the Board of Scientific Councilors at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dr. Hurd's multidisciplinary research investigates the neurobiology underlying addiction disorders and related psychiatric illnesses. A translational approach is used to examine molecular and neurochemical events in the human brain and comparable animal models in order to ascertain neurobiological correlates of behavior. A major focus of the research is directed to risk factors of addiction disorders including genetics as well as developmental exposure to drugs of abuse.


Suzanne Somers

Healthcare Advocate, Author, Actress, Entertainer

Suzanne Somers is one of America's most popular and beloved personalities. In a multifaceted career that has spanned more than three decades; she has achieved extraordinary success as an actress, singer, comedienne, New York Times bestselling author, Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year, entrepreneur, and lecturer.


Rocky Bleier

Notable Pittsburgh Steeler from the 1970s

Rocky Bleier's story - a gripping tale of courage on both the football fields of America and the battle fields of Vietnam - has held audiences in rapt attention for years. Yet, the motivational message behind it, detailing how ordinary people can become extraordinary achievers, defines success in the new American century.

With the same optimism, sense of humor and steadfast determination that were his trademarks as a Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Rocky Bleier takes audiences from his early years through his professional career and talks about the lessons he learned along the way... lessons that we all can benefit from.


The Path Foundation Finding Adequate Reward in Life: The Brain featured a number of great panels, presentations and discussions. A special awards dinner was held after the seminar.


Joseph C. Maroon, MD
Concussion, PTSD, and CTE: Clinical Features and Pathogenesis

Rocky Bleier
Notable Pittsburgh Steeler from the 1970s

Medical & Scientific Seminar

Governor David A. Paterson Opening Remarks

Nora D. Volkow, MD
Role of Dopamine in Addictive Behaviors: Drug Abuse, Alcoholism and Obesity

Paul Greengard, PhD
The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Major Depressive Disorder

Yasmin Hurd, PhD
From Womb to Womb: Generational Epigenetic Effects of Cannabis

Mark S. Gold, MD
Role of Dopaminergic Signaling in Food Addiction

Kenneth Blum, PhD
Neurogenetic Correlates of Reward Deficiency (RDS): A Common Mechanism of Addictive Behavior

Eric R. Braverman, MD
Clinical Applications of dopaminergic loss from Pediatrics to Geriatrics

Panel Discussion

Awards Dinner

Award Ceremony and Dinner
Special Performance by Grammy Award Winning Violinist Miri Ben-Ari,
Goodwill Ambassador of Music to the United Nations

President’s Letter

I would like to thank you for your support and attendance at the seminar. I am excited to present our speakers, collaborators, and luminaries today. At the foundation, we have worked hard to realize this event and hope that you will leave with enrichment. We do believe that integrative neurological and psychiatric research is a key focus for the future of medicine and clinical studies.

We are fortunate enough to feature outstanding scientists, physicians, and individuals today. It is an honor to host this event and we are grateful for everyone's interest in our work.

If you have any questions about the Foundation's research or about donating, please contact the Foundation at (646) 367-7411 or email

Your partnership and continued support have helped us enormously in our endeavors and are sincerely appreciated.

With Gratitude,
Eric R. Braverman, MD
Founder and President