Archive for 2013

They’re not just in your head — functional neurological disorders

Functional or psychogenic neurological disorders are conditions with neurological symptoms that are thought to be due to psychological dysfunction rather than an underlying neurological disorder. They can be classified as malingering if the person is intentionally having the symptoms. Perhaps someone is pretending an arm or leg is weak after a car accident in hopes of getting compensation from the other driver. However, in most cases, the symptoms are not conscious or voluntary. Common symptoms … Read More

Brain News Roundup: ‘Seeing’ emotions, concussions and ‘multi-tasking’

Scientists can now see “sad” and “happy” in our brains. More news on the impact of concussions, including long-term impacts. And a roundup of more brain news, including fatherhood and our (mistaken) belief about how well we multi-task. • Scientists have discovered a way to “see” emotions with brain imaging technology, according to a recent study. Beyond being just plain fascinating, scientists hope the findings could bring a new way to analyze emotions beyond people’s … Read More

The continuing search for the answer to Alzheimer’s disease

Alois Alzheimer, a German physician in 1906, was studying a woman who came to his clinic complaining about memory loss, language problems, and behavioral changes. She ultimately died of complications from her illness. After her death, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and found abnormal protein clumps, now referred to as amyloid deposits, and bundles of fibers, now called neurofibrillary tangles. The dementia exhibited by this patient acquired the name Alzheimer’s dementia because of its discovery … Read More

Recovering from stroke — through music

In the early 2000s, as part of the OHSU Stroke Center, I saw disabled stroke patients make remarkable progress in their recoveries — simply by exerting a large amount of extra effort and determination in their rehab exercises. The patients were part of a program led by an innovative OHSU physical therapist named Andrea Serdar. The program was within what is now known as the OHSU Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Department within the OHSU Brain Institute. … Read More

Stroke basics: Understand the symptoms, and call 911

“Dial 911 for emergencies.” You think this is simple and obvious, right? It turns out that a recent study found that one-third of patients with stroke symptoms did not call 911 when they were having a stroke. Often, patients show up in the emergency room by having their families drive them or, even worse, by driving themselves.  Also, there are many instances that I know of personally where patients wait until the next day to … Read More

Scientists excited by new ‘see-through brain’

I am a neuroscientist who uses advanced microscopy techniques to understand the basic mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. Throughout my career, I have always been interested in imaging and microscopy as a way to answer essential biological questions.  That’s why I (along with many other neuroscientists) am so excited about a new technique that creates fully intact, optically clear brains, allowing scientists to study how brain cells connect and communicate with each other in a completely … Read More

Carotid Dissections, Stroke and Telestroke

New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin recently wrote an article that did a great job of describing a stroke from a patient’s perspective, as well as discussing some new advances in stroke treatment technology. The first point his case illustrates is that stroke can occur at all ages, from babies to the elderly. It may be especially difficult for younger and fit patients to understand they are having a stroke. Since it’s an “an old … Read More

A Healthy Body Makes for a Healthy Brain

It’s 1960. “Eat your vegetables. Don’t you want to grow up strong and smart?” The boy’s mom dished out this unassailable logic at the dinner table along with the lima beans. What boy wouldn’t want to grow up “strong” and “smart?” And eating the dreaded lima beans surely must be good for you … why else would someone eat them?  But the boy became a young man and forgot his Mom’s dinner table wisdom. Fast … Read More

Pioneering scientist speaks about brain mapping

Those of us who work within the OHSU Brain Institute are honored to have Dr. Marcus Raichle visit us May 13 to present an evening seminar in the Brain Awareness Lecture Series, entitled “How Do We Peer Deeply into the Brain.” Raichle has been at the forefront in the development and application of advanced brain imaging techniques to advance neuroscience for four decades. He is a pioneer in the use of innovative positron emission tomography, or … Read More

Recovering from concussion: a long haul but I’m getting there

The first time I got hit was November 15, 2008, during my freshman year at Aloha High School, at basketball practice. I dove, a girl moved her knee and I smashed into it with my forehead. I was dizzy, confused, nauseated and my head was pounding. Three weeks later, I was shooting around with a friend when a basketball hit me on the head. Since I was not symptom free from my first concussion, my … Read More

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