Archive for 2013

A toast to your health

There’s possibly no better time to highlight this research story than on New Year’s eve: a drink or two a day — a glass of wine, a glass of beer — might also keep the doctor away. That’s what colleagues and I found in a study published this month in the journal Vaccine. We studied the drinking behaviors of rhesus macaque monkeys, who were given 22-hour-a-day access to a mixture of alcohol and water — … Read More

Ask our expert: Aging & declining mental ability

Q: Does getting older always mean losing mental ability? A: Part of normal brain aging may mean a slowing of mental processing, especially in your memory. Although many patients ask, it’s difficult to prescribe any particular type of mental exercise for your brain, though learning things that get you out of your normal routine can help, such as learning a new language or trying a different type of puzzle. But your best option is physical activity: … Read More

How our brains wash away the gunk during sleep

You wake on Saturday morning, drag your body out of bed and survey your home. You had entertained houseguests the night before, and it shows. Friends and family had filled your home, loud voices and much conversation echoed within your walls and everyone went home much later than you had planned. And now it is time to pay the piper. A full Saturday’s worth of dishwashing, floor scrubbing and shelf wiping stares you back in … Read More

Lewy body dementia — a less-known cause of cognitive problems

Not all people with cognitive problems have Alzheimer’s disease. While Alzheimer’s is the most common reason for memory problems as people get older, there are other types of dementia. Lewy body dementia or Lewy body disease is a much less common cause of cognitive problems and is seen in about seven in a thousand people over the age of 65. People with LBD tend to have trouble with visual spatial function and executive function. Executive … Read More

Designing a migraine-free lifestyle — especially for women

One in five women in America suffer from migraine headaches. In the throes of a migraine attack, simple head movement intensifies the pain. Eating or exercising is out of the question. Sometimes a migraine sufferer can’t even get out of bed.  There are 28 million Americans who have these disabling headaches — three times as many women as men. Almost half of them don’t see a doctor, don’t know their headaches are migraine or are … Read More

Scientists ‘create’ a tiny brain

For the first time, scientists have grown a brain in a dish. In a study published in the journal Nature last month, Austrian researchers used human induced pluripotent stem cells or embryonic stem cells and a combination of specialized growth conditions to produce “cerebral organoids.” Within these organoids, the authors can define many, but not all, of the discrete brain regions found in the human brain. The organization of these regions in relation to one … Read More

Should MS drugs cost more than $40,000 a year?

I have been treating people with multiple sclerosis, or MS, for 30 years. While some people with MS have a very mild case — we call that “benign” MS — most do not.  Typically, people develop the illness as young adults and have to contend with the illness for decades. Untreated, over time, most people with MS become permanently disabled. Many lose the ability to walk, become too disabled to work, have thinking problems and … Read More

From laboratory to farm: a scientist’s visit to the local herb farm

As a basic scientist, most of my neuroscience training and research has focused on the underlying biological mechanisms of disease. During the past year, I have started working with a natural compound in my research on Parkinson’s disease. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric spice, can act as an anti-oxidant and anti-aggregation agent, and may have a positive effect on the Lewy bodies found in Parkinson’s patients. At first, I was a bit skeptical about … Read More

What causes a migraine?

“I have a pounding headache!” We’ve all heard that lament – from a friend or family member, and very likely felt one ourselves. That throbbing, pounding head pain that makes it hard to think, much less do everything we need to do. According to surveys, more than 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from migraine headaches. Women are more frequent sufferers than men, with up to 25 percent of women experiencing migraines, but less … Read More

‘Neuroprotection’: an elusive goal in fighting brain diseases

About 15 years ago, I wrote an article about treating Alzheimer’s disease that divided treatments into two categories: “symptomatic” and “neuroprotectant.” There were real options in the former category. But the “neuroprotectant” idea was more theoretical — more of a “coming attractions” approach — citing the studies that were underway to identify treatments that would actually save brain cells, protecting those neurons from further harm, and actually slowing or arresting the disease process. Sadly, despite … Read More

OHSU Brain Institute Profile image

OHSU Brain Institute

We are a national leader in brain disease treatment and research.

Read more

Participation Guidelines

Remember: information you share here is public; it isn't medical advice. Need advice or treatment? Contact your healthcare provider directly. Read our Terms of Use and this disclaimer for details.