Archive for 2017

Discovering the latest in TBI research, evaluation and treatment

For many graduate students, myself included, conferences and symposiums are little more than an opportunity to stuff your face with free food, nervously defend your most bewildering preliminary data, and awkwardly attempt what socially adept people call “networking”. However, last week’s TBI symposium was different. It offered attendees a crash course on what scientists and clinicians from around the country were learning about TBI. Being brand new to the research world of traumatic brain injury, … Read More

Innovative technologies used for the assessment of concussion and TBI

Neuropsychologists measure the relationship between how the brain is functioning and how people think and act as a result. Although they have incorporated advances in brain imaging to improve our understanding of brain-behavior relationships, the field has been slow to embrace technology to improve our assessments of a patient’s ability to perform everyday activities like the ability to drive or predict performance in the classroom. Many of our paper-and-pencil tests have been computerized, but this … Read More

OHSU research targets chronic balance dysfunction in mTBI patients

Abnormal balance control during standing and walking has been documented in patients who have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion. These problems may improve over the weeks following injury for many people, however, balance related impairments remain a common complaint in those suffering from the chronic effects of mTBI. Under the lead of Dr. Laurie King (PI), postdoctoral scholars Dr. Lucy Parrington and Dr. Peter Fino are seeking ways to better measure … Read More

How to talk about a tough topic: Tips for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Dr. Alan Teo shares the right way (and the wrong way) to talk  about suicide. In less than a month since its debut on August 17, a music video whose title is a phone number has garnered 41 million views on YouTube (and counting quickly). The song is called “1-800-273-8255” by hip hop artist Logic. The video tells the story of a young black man who struggles with family … Read More

A look back at SAIL, the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning

As students end their summer break and head back to school this month, we take a look back at July’s  Summer Academy to Inspire Learning (SAIL), a week-long summer camp for high school students organized in collaboration between faculty at Portland State University (PSU) and the Youth Engaged in Science (YES!) program in the Fair Neuroimaging Lab (FNL) at OHSU. SAIL at PSU was launched in summer 2011 and is modeled after the SAIL program … Read More

Five common myths about the brain―and the truth behind them

Here are five common myths about the brain – and the truth behind them. 1. You only use 10 percent of your brain False! Techniques that allow scientists to see brain activity like positron emission tomography (PET) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show that we use every part of our brains throughout the day. 2. People can be right-brained or left-brained While certain specific tasks, like understanding syllables in words, do involve one side … Read More

Understanding frontotemporal dementia

For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of leading a support group for family caregivers of persons with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and related disorders. The group’s creation was based on an observation among our clinicians at the OHSU Aging and Alzheimer’s Clinic that the typical Alzheimer’s Disease support group did not always meet the needs of families dealing with FTD. A closer look at the hallmark symptoms of frontotemporal degeneration will help … Read More

Caregiver corner: Pleasant Events tool can aid overtaxed caregivers

A demoralizing effect of Alzheimer’s disease and similar dementias is the gradual loss of ability to engage in enjoyable and meaningful activities. This loss affects the whole family and can lead to depressive symptoms in the care recipient with dementia. Overtaxed family caregivers know that activity engagement is important, but they often tell me they are exhausted and can’t think of another activity. To address this concern, Teri and Logsdon (1991) developed the Pleasant Events … Read More

Meet the minds behind NW Noggin, a K-12 neuroscience outreach program

At 8 a.m. in an eastern Washington elementary school gymnasium, Bill Griesar, Ph.D. ’01, is in a situation that would make anyone else sweat. Dr. Griesar has brought his group of neuroscience outreach volunteers – undergraduate and graduate students hailing from OHSU, Portland State University and Washington State University Vancouver – to Davenport, Wash., to teach schoolchildren about brains and neuroscience. But he has just discovered that the pipe cleaners used to construct neuron models … Read More

Taking a seat at the table as an advocate for science

Our first meeting on Capitol Hill was in the office of Senator Jeff Merkley.  I was seated across from a staff member with expertise in health policy and next to neuroscience department chairs and researchers with distinguished careers.  Alissa Ortman, Outreach Manager for Society for Neuroscience (SfN), introduced us: “Here are the neuroscientists.” The first several times I heard her say it, my stomach dropped. I was there as an Early Career Policy Ambassador and … Read More

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