Neurosurgery

A strong neuroscience program is about to get stronger—meet leaders and researchers at the forefront

Today, neuroscience at OHSU is poised for dramatic growth, driven by emerging areas of research strength in the fields of neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration and a planned investment of at least $100 million. Led by long-time campus leaders and new luminaries, the university is doubling down on its quest: contribute in a major way to understanding the mystery between our ears and, above all, improve brain health. Leadership On the faculty since 1982, Dennis Bourdette, M.D., F.A.A.N., chairs neurology in the … Read More

April Spotlight: Neuroradiology and the fMRI exam

April is host to Neurodiagnostic Week, a time to honor and celebrate the contributions of our neurodiagnostic professionals. Our Neuroradiology department is an integral part of the diagnostic evaluation process and collaborates with all OHSU clinical and medical teams including but not limited to neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, ENT surgery, orthopedic surgery, and vascular surgery. One of the most advanced techniques we use is a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) exam. This exam is tailored to the location of the … Read More

Parkinson’s patient worried about DBS surgery — but not about the team at OHSU

Marilee Thompson worried about having surgery to treat her Parkinson’s disease. She knew the risks of deep brain stimulation surgery were low, she said, but “somebody makes up the statistics” on the few who have complications. What she didn’t worry about was the surgical team at OHSU. Thompson knew that Dr. Kim Burchiel, an OHSU neurosurgeon, had been doing deep brain stimulation for a long time. He was the first doctor in the U.S. to … Read More

Neuroscience research news you may have missed

Because so many people have neurological disorders, research to prevent, treat or cure them is essential. Here at the OHSU Brain Institute, we bring doctors, laboratory scientists, and neurological experts together to develop advanced treatments and prevention strategies. We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the more recent research innovations coming from our labs: Javits Award – Dr. Mary Heinricher receives $2.3 million Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award for her research into chronic pain: Portland … Read More

Deep brain stimulation surgery: Eugene patient shares his story

Parkinson’s disease nearly overwhelmed Colin Halstead’s life. He needed two canes to walk. He took 27 pills a day. His voice was hard to understand, and his ability to make facial expressions had all but slipped away. His employer thought he needed to go on disability. Then he faced needing his parents to move from Sutherlin to Eugene to take care of him. At 48, he felt like a child again. “Just thinking about being sick for … Read More

Considering deep brain stimulation? OHSU maps treatment step by step

Many people with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor reach a day when medication just doesn’t cut it anymore. Sometimes the medication doesn’t provide the relief it once did. Or patients have to take such high doses that side effects spiral beyond what they can tolerate. That’s when some turn to deep brain stimulation surgery, or DBS. At OHSU, patients who have Parkinson’s or essential tremor and are considering DBS receive a step-by-step treatment plan. The … Read More

7 facts about deep brain stimulation ─ and why it might not be as scary as you think

There’s no getting around it. Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, requires brain surgery. And that ─ understandably ─ makes people nervous. But DBS might not be as invasive or scary as you think. DBS can be a powerful treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. Tiny electrodes, or leads, are placed in the brain and connected to a pacemaker-like device. The device sends low-voltage electrical pulses to help control movement. Many patients enjoy … Read More

FAQs on deep brain stimulation: What is it? What does OHSU offer?

If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, you may have heard of deep brain stimulation. But what is it? How does it help? And how is it done here at OHSU? Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions that can help you learn more. We’ve also recently launched a new deep brain stimulation website with details on the procedure and which patients make good candidates. 1. What is deep brain stimulation? Deep … Read More

The surgery that changed my life: controlling the seizures

Seventeen-years old, waking up on a Sunday morning wondering who I was, where I was, and how I became that way. That was the first time memory loss had become part of my life. However, it was not the first time I had been overcome by confusion. In fact, that cycle began at age four — on the night I had my first epileptic seizure. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that produces seizures affecting one’s … Read More

Deep Brain Stimulation: life-changing treatment for tremors, and maybe more

Functional neurosurgery is surgery intended to improve brain function.  These procedures have been applied to the treatment of pain, movement disorders, epilepsy, and behavioral disorders. In the past, the techniques were mostly targeted destruction of brain tissue or pathways. In very specific areas, destroying brain tissue could actually help — by decreasing a person’s tremors from movement disorders, for instance. Now with deep brain stimulation technology, these techniques are being replaced by reversible, and non-damaging … Read More