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Helen Lavretsky, MD


Helen Lavretsky, MD

UCLA Physician Helen Lavretsky, MD specializes in Geriatric Psychiatry.
Geriatric Psychiatry
Language Spoken
English, Russian
Hospital Affiliation
Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
State License Number
(800) 825-9989 Appointments
(310) 794-4619 Office
Fax Number
(310) 206-4399
Email Address
Voted Best Doctor

Outpatient Appointments
300 Medical Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Address
760 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Geriatric Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1998, 2008
Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1996, 2006
Neuroscience, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 1996 - 1999
Geriatric Psychiatry, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 1994 - 1996
Psychiatry, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 1992 - 1994
Psychiatry, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 1991 - 1992
MD, First Moscow Sechenov Medical Institute, 1985
Research Interest
Geriatric psychiatry, mood disorders, psychopharmacology, integrative medicine, complementary and alternative medicine
Additional Information
Dr. Helen Lavretsky is an Associate Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and a geriatric psychiatrist with the research interest in geriatric depression.

She is a recipient of the Career Development award from NIMH and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of psychopharmacological treatment of geriatric depression, the impact of the MRI brain structural changes on outcomes of geriatric depression and normal aging, the interaction of co-existing medical and psychiatric disorders in relation to health and functional outcomes in the elderly. She has developed an elective rotation in clinical research for Medical Students at UCLA, which has been active for the past 2 years.

After receiving her Medical Degree from the Moscow Medical Institute, Dr. Lavretsky performed her residency in Psychiatry at UCLA-San Fernando Valley Residency Program, followed by the UCLA Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry, and the national VA Research Fellowship in Neurosciences. She received her Degree of Master of Science in Clinical Research from UCLA in 2004.

  1. Lavretsky H, Zheng Ling, Wendy Mack, Michael Weiner, Dan Mungas, Bruce Reed, Joel Kramer, Bill Jagust, Helena Chui. The neuroanatomical MRI patterns associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms in older adults with and without cognitive impairment Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;23(10):1040-50. 2008 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Lavretsky H, Siddarth P, Wong M-L, Kumar A, Reynolds C. Dopamine and serotonin transporter genetic polymorphisms: clinical features and treatment response in geriatric depression. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Jan;23(1):55-9.
  3. Small GW, Kepe V, Ercoli LM, Siddarth P, Bookheimer SY, Miller KJ, Lavretsky H, Burggren AC, Cole GM, Vinters HV, Thompson PM, Huang SC, Satyamurthy N, Phelps ME, Barrio JR. PET of brain amyloid and tau in mild cognitive impairment. N Engl J Med. 2006 Dec 21;355(25):2652-63.
  4. Cho HJ, Lavretsky J, Olmstead R, Levin MJ, Oxman MN, Irwin MR (2008). Sleep Disturbance and Depression Recurrence in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Prospective Study Am J Psychiatry. 165(12):1543-50. Epub 2008 Sep 2.
  5. Lavretsky H; Siddarth P, Kepe V, Ercoli LM Miller KJ, Burggren AC Bookheimer SY; Huang H, Phelps ME; Barrio JR, Small GW. Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Predict Cerebral FDDNP-PET Binding in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;17(6):493-502.
  6. Small GW, Siddarth P, Silverman D , Ercoli LM, Miller KJ, Lavretsky H, Huang S.-C., Bookheimer SY, Barrio JR. Phelps ME. Cognitive and cerebral metabolic effects of celecoxib versus placebo in people with age related memory loss. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008 Dec;16(12):999-1009.
  7. Cho HJ, Lavretsky J, Olmstead R, Levin MJ, Oxman MN, Irwin MR. Prior Depression History Predicts Physical Health Decline in Community-dwelling Older Adults - a Prospective Cohort Study, Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2010 Jan 11. PubMed PMID: 20220581.
  8. Lavretsky H., Siddarth P, Irwin M. Improving depression and enhancing resilience and quality of life in family dementia caregivers: a randomized placebo-controlled trial of escitalopram. Am J of Geriatric Psychiatry 2010 Feb;18(2):154-62
  9. Lavretsky H, Zheng Ling, Wendy Mack, Michael Weiner, Dan Mungas, Bruce Reed, Joel Kramer, Bill Jagust, Helena Chui. Depressed mood predicted mortality in older adults with and without cognitive impairment Am J Psychiatry [2010] May;167(5):589-97. Epub 2010 Feb 16.
  10. Mueller SG, Mack W, Mungas D, Kramer J, Lavretsky H, Greene M, Schuff N,Chui HC, Weiner MW (2010). Influences of Lobar Gray Matter and Lobar White Matter Lesion Load on Cognition and Depressed Mood. Psych Res 2010 Feb 28;181(2):90-6 Jan 12 epub
  11. Lavretsky H, Altstein L, Olmstead R.E.,Ercoli L, M Riparetti-Brown M, St. Cyr N., Irwin M.R. Complementary use of Tai Chi augments escitalopram treatment of geriatric depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Geriatric Psychiatry 2011 Oct;19(10):839-50. epub Mar 6 , 2011.
  12. Schneider B, Ercoli LM, Siddarth P, Riparetti-Brown M, Lavretsky H. Vascular Burden and Cognitive Functioning in Depressed Older Adults Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]
  13. Lavretsky H, Epel ES, Siddarth P, Nazarian N, Cyr NS, Khalsa DS, Lin J, Blackburn E, Irwin MR. A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects on mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Mar 11.
  14. Black, D, Cole S, Siddarth P., Nazarian N, St Cyr N., Witarama T., Breen E.C., Khalsa D.S., Irwin M, Lavretsky H. Yogic meditation reverses NF-?B and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial Psychoneuroendocrinology epub 2012 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print]
  15. Pomykala KL, Silverman D. H. S. , Geist C. L., Voege, P , Siddarth P., Nazarian N, N. St. Cyr N, Khalsa D.S., Lavretsky H. A pilot study of the effects of meditation on regional brain metabolism in distressed dementia caregivers [in press].
  16. Jain FA, Gitlin M, Lavretsky H, Rapid Response of Major Depressive Disorder and Comorbid Eating Disorder NOS to a Novel Meditation Intervention. Psychosomatics 53:4, 2012, 401-402
  17. Merrill DS, Siddarth P, Kepe V, Raja P, Saito N, Ercoli LM, Miller KJ, Lavretsky H, Bookheimer SY, Barrio JR, Small GW. Vascular risk and FDDNP-PET independently influence cognitive performance. [in press] Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  18. Siddarth D; Siddarth P, Lavretsky H. Health Benefits of Yoga or Tai Chi compared to Aerobic Exercise in the Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged and Older Adults" Am J of Geriatric Psychiatry [in press]
  19. Lavretsky H. Spirituality and aging. Perspective. J Aging Health 2010, June, 6(6), 749–769
  20. Merrill D, Lavretsky H. “The use of complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition and exercise for treatment and prevention of late-life mood and cognitive disorders.” Directions in Psychiatry. [in press]
  21. Lavretsky H. The role of family caregivers and inappropriate medication use in the community-dwelling older adults with dementia. Priority evaluation. J Aging Health 2012 [in press]
  22. Vartaresian T, Merrill D, Lavretsky H. The use of natural products and supplements for treatment of late-life mood and cognitive disorders. In: Focus: American Psychiatric Press of the APA [in press].
  23. Lavretsky H, Newhouse PA. Stress, inflammation and aging. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2012 Aug 7. [Epub ahead of print]
  24. Han S-H, Lavretsky H. Supplement on Gingko Biloba. Interntational Psychogeriatrics (2012) Vol 24 : Supplement 1: S1-2.
  25. Lavretsky H, Jeste D. Editorial letter to the special issue on Geriatric Psychiatry, Focus, American Psychiatric Press, APA, 2012 [in press]
  26. Lavretsky H, Sajatovic M, Reynolds CF. Eds. Late Life Moods disorders. Oxford Univ Press 2013.
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