Alzheimer’s Disease

What you missed at BRAINet: The Many Brains in Music

The Brain Research Awareness and Information Network (BRAINet) is the volunteer outreach organization of the OHSU Brain Institute. BRAINet Lecture Luncheons are held each month, where members can hear presentations from OHSU faculty members. On December 15, we we lucky enough to be joined by Larry Sherman, Ph.D., who spoke about the connections between music and the brain. Dr. Sherman is both an accomplished musician and Senior Scientist for the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon … Read More

The connection between the brain, sleep and dementia

Last week, I talked about ongoing research on how sleep “deep cleans” your brain, as well as my participation in the National Geographic Channel’s documentary Sleepless in America. Meanwhile, our team of OHSU researchers, along with colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York, are plunging ahead with the story of the brain, sleep and dementia. We recently published an article in the journal Annals of Neurology that showed that the “brain cleaning system” is impaired in the aging … Read More

Sleepless in America — and the science behind it

There’s nothing quite like that feeling in your head after a long night of…no sleep. Your head feels disorganized, foggy, fuzzy, jumbled. Like it’s full of sludge left over from the night before. That’s maybe because it is. My colleagues and I have made some recent discoveries about what happens to the brain during sleep. In essence, we’ve found that the brain’s cells shrink during sleep in order to open up the space between them. That … Read More

Health watch: Jogging your memory

In March, researchers conducting a study of older adults announced a blood test that could predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, the test is very preliminary and the testing process, itself, still needs more research. So, what can you do to know to help stave off memory loss? What do you and your loved ones need to know about dementia? Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia often have something in common: they may … Read More

Keeping your brain healthy — 7 simple steps

Keeping your brain healthy is simpler than you might think. In fact, the best chance for keeping your brain healthy — far into your senior years — can be as simple as keeping your body healthy. But it takes a commitment, and maybe just a bit of sideline support. So the OHSU Brain Institute has recently launched its Healthy Brain Campaign. At the center of the campaign are seven simple lessons to live by — … Read More

The road to a healthy heart is the road to a healthy brain

What if we told you that you could live your life in simple ways that give you a very, very good chance of having a healthy heart and a sharp brain well into old age? No special drugs, no special surgeries, no amazing scientific discoveries and no wonder cures. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And it’s simple. Science is beginning to understand that the route to a healthy brain and healthy heart might be pretty … Read More

Brain Insitute speaker: Mad Cow expert and neuroscience pioneer

Did you know that, according to the American Red Cross, you are forbidden from donating blood in the United States if you have spent a cumulative time of three months or more in the United Kingdom, from Jan. 1, 1980 through December 31, 1996? The reason? It stems from the discovery that in some parts of the world, cattle can get an infectious, fatal brain disease called Mad Cow Disease. In these same locations, humans … 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

‘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

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