New research looks at the influence of race and emotional context on face perception

Reports by some media outlets and community outreach organizations that track and document police violence demonstrate that more than any other demographic group, young black males may be at a particularly heightened risk of fatal police encounters.

The underlying causes for the reported violent interactions between police and black individuals are likely dependent on a number of factors.GettyImages-490545544

To shed light on the issue, one approach taken by psychologists and neuroscientists has been to investigate potential behavioral and intrinsic brain-based biases when perceiving black vs. white faces.

One notable study (B. Keith Payne, 2001) reports that brief displays of black vs white faces as racial cues can actually “prime” a quicker response to weapons or items of danger.

The same manipulation increases misidentification of tools as weapons for black, relative to white, face cues. This occurs even if the face cue was flashed so quickly that the participant doesn’t even know it was there.

These findings point to race as an important construct that drives perception, which may, at least in part, drive the actions taken by law enforcement.

Our research asks an additional question. Are these types of relationships dependent, or even enhanced, based on the emotional state of the subject making quick decisions?

To investigate the effects of race and emotional context on face perception, our study used black and white faces as stimuli in a functional MRI task (emotional go/no-go task) designed to study impulse control in black and white young adults.

Three emotional contexts were induced in participants: rewarding, threatening, or neutral contexts.

Behaviorally, participants exhibited greater impulsive actions (more false alarms) to black faces, which was enhanced in threat contexts. This finding was paralleled in the brain. Brain patterns revealed increased functional MRI activity for black faces in threatening contexts, as opposed to few face differences in neutral and rewarding contexts.

Our results demonstrate the importance of emotional context as an important factor that influences race perception, and subsequent decision-making. Such findings should assist in ongoing efforts to increase awareness of race disparities in law enforcement and ultimately a reduction in preventable violent encounters.


Binyam Nardos
Binyam Nardos is a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Damien Fair in Behavioral Neuroscience. His research uses behavioral and functional MRI techniques to understand how face perception is influenced by race and socioemotional context.



This research was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

A manuscript with our findings is in preparation and includes the following authors.

Nardos, B.2, Rubien-Thomas, E.1,  Cohen, A.O.8, Schifsky, E.E. 2, Li, A.3, Cervera, A.1, Lowery, A.1, Dellarco, D.V.4, Rheinschmidt-Same, M.5, Daumeyer, N.1, Camp, N.6, Hughes, B.L.9, Taylor-Thompson, K.A.7, Eberhardt, J.L.6, Fair, D.A.2, Richeson, J.A.1, Casey, BJ1,3, and Fair, DA2

1Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT; 2Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; 3Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; 4Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Miami, FL; 5Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 5Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 6Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; 7New York University School of Law, New York, NY, 8Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, 9Department of Psychology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA

Celebrating our ROSE Award winners

_DSC6098We’ve all experienced those magical moments when someone makes your day – by treating you like family, by looking out for your well-being, by making that extra effort that transforms a small act into a big difference.

OHSU’s ROSE Award honors these experiences and celebrates the exceptional acts of service excellence that make our workplace a community.

We recognize these individuals for providing acts of compassion, dedication, tenacity, generosity, communication, and leadership, among others.

The most recent awards ceremony honored two groups within the neurosciences. Please join us in congratulating these groups and help us thank them for going above and beyond.

Read the winning ROSE Award nominations below:

Karen Chiang and Lisa Ledsworth, 7C Neurosciences ICU

Lisa and Karin demonstrated excellent teamwork and excellent nursing care in helping me with my assigned patient, who was very delirious, impulsive and feeling frustrated with being stuck in the Neurosciences ICU (NSICU) for so long.

Lisa was the charge RN and Karin was the stroke response RN. The unit was very busy that day with a lot of post-operative patients, but they still made the time to set my patient up in the nursing station with a little activity table, complete with coloring pages and pens.Untitled-2

When this patient was feeling upset later on, they used patient, kind therapeutic communication and really created safe space for a patient who wasn’t feeling very safe in the moment.

Sometimes on those busy days in the ICU, these crucial holistic nursing interventions aren’t prioritized, but Lisa and Karin showed that even on busy days we can all work together to create a caring environment.

Nicole Fleming, Sylvia Salazar, and Dara Wasserman, Neurology

Nicole Fleming OHSU and Sharon Yip translating_Asian Health and Service Lecture_Cantonese Senior Group_4-11-2017In April, Research Associates, Dara Wasserman, Nicole Fleming and Sylvia Salazar provided eight lectures on brain health and dementia to 263 community-dwelling Asian older adults through a new partnership with the Asian Health & Service Center.

Lectures were translated into Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

This community learned about the work of the OHSU Layton Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the brain, including different types of memory and what is considered “normal aging” and what may be dementia.

The Layton Center team discussed signs and symptoms of the disease, offered tips for talking to doctors and what patients should expect at a dementia screening appointment.

The Asian Health & Service Center noted that this education was important for a few reasons:

  • In Oregon, as of 2015, Asians had the second-highest rate of mortality among all ethnicities for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • As a group, Asian-Americans have a longer life expectancy compared to other groups, which raises the risk for age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Finally, some Asian-American community members see signs of dementia as part of the natural aging process and therefore opt against seeking treatment that could help them.

The research associates’ effort was a great example of the way OHSU serves the community by literally translating the amazing work we do, and the knowledge we have.

Nominate an employee, student or volunteer for a ROSE Award. Printed nomination forms are also available in reception areas on our campuses.

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

CROET head

Photo by Aaron Bieleck

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.

On the faculty since 1982, Dennis Bourdette, M.D., F.A.A.N., chairs neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine. He is nationally recognized for important discoveries in multiple sclerosis, directing a team dedicated to curing and treating M.S.

Last year, OHSU selected neurobiologist Marc Freeman, Ph.D., to serve as the latest director of the Vollum Institute. A former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Dr. Freeman’s lab first described the gene responsible for driving the degeneration of axons after brain injury.

On the faculty since 1981, George Keepers, M.D., chairs psychiatry in the OHSU School of Medicine. He was instrumental in establishing Oregon’s first dedicated emergency psychiatric facility, the Unity Center for Behavioral Health.

The school recruited Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh last year to chair behavioral neuroscience. Dr. Moghaddam has made significant contributions to the study of the cellular basis of cognitive constructs critical to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

On the faculty since 2000, Nathan Selden, M.D., Ph.D., chairs neurological surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. He performed the first transplantation of neuronal stem cells in a human patient and built neurosurgery’s graduate medical education program into a national model.

This group of five will guide OHSU’s growth and investment in neuroscience. First up, an example of promising research in neurodevelopment.


Dr. Bonnie Nagel in the control room at OHSU’s Advanced Imaging Research Center. (Photo by Michael McDermott)

Adolescent ABC’s
Can you understand the mind of a teenager? That rhetorical question posed by exasperated adults across the ages may actually get answered, thanks to a large, groundbreaking study dubbed ABCD or Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development. Established in 2015, it’s an NIH-led examination of more than 10,000 adolescents across the U.S. The unprecedented 10-year effort is tracking the biological and behavioral development of youth ages 9 through young adulthood.

Hundreds of scientists applied to run the study. NIH tapped OHSU to be one of 21 research sites nationally. The OHSU site is co-led by Bonnie Nagel, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine.

Teenagers, science tells us, are prone to depression and high-risk, sensation-seeking behaviors. Why do some develop poor outcomes while others don’t? What is a normal teenage brain?

Since her earliest days in science, Dr. Nagel has studied adolescent brain development. “It’s stunning how little we know about this time of extraordinary growth,” she said. “It’s difficult to understand pathology if we don’t know a baseline for normal development. The size and scope of this study will change that.”

Dr. Nagel’s own 8-year-old daughter will be well into her teens by the time the study concludes. By then, Dr. Nagel hopes answers about risk and resilience can transform treatments, helping adolescents chart a positive path to adulthood. It’s just one example of OHSU researchers pushing the frontier of neurodevelopment knowledge.

“A very open question”
On the other side of the spectrum is neurodegeneration. Here, too, a growing body of OHSU research is making its mark on the field.

In the Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research, scientists pursue translational research with a laser focus on disease. Over the last decade, the center has hired promising new faculty like clinician-scientist Vivek Unni, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, OHSU School of Medicine.

Ever since his medical school days at Columbia University, Dr. Unni has enjoyed caring for older people. When he’s not in clinic seeing patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, he’s studying neurons in his Jungers lab.

Dr. Unni and his team have already made a name for themselves developing a one-of-a-kind method that allows scientists to longitudinally study individual neurons in a Parkinson’s disease mouse model, greatly condensing the time it takes to observe the disease.

Now, he and his team are boring into a key question: Why does a certain protein called alpha-synuclein clump or aggregate during the onset of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders?

“Is it damaging or protecting the cell? Is it neutral?” asked Dr. Unni. “It might be critical to the disease, but we don’t know. It’s still a very open question.”

Any new treatment strategy, he says, could easily make people worse rather than better if the basic biology isn’t understood. So although he wishes for a quickie drug to help his patients, Dr. Unni devotes the time it takes to test emerging knowledge at the bench, in order to maximize the chances of a new drug actually working.

“I love thinking about the brain,” said Dr. Unni. “And I love the opportunity to use that knowledge to make things better for people.”


Written by Rachel Shafer, OHSU School of Medicine


This article was originally published in Bridges, a magazine of people, connections and community for alumni of the OHSU School of Medicine.

Meet Patricia O’Shea, Brain Resource Center volunteer

Patricia O'Shea

Patricia O’Shea, Brain Resource Center volunteer

It’s Volunteer Week here at OHSU. This interview was originally published in 2015, but Patricia O’ Shea is still here and going strong!

She has been volunteering since 2010 and as of April 2017 has put in over 820 hours of volunteer time.

Thank you so much for your continued dedication!

Patricia O’Shea volunteers at our Brain Resource Center and is an active member of our Brain Research Awareness and Information Network (BRAINet).

Why did you become a volunteer for OHSU?

I attended some of the first Brain Awareness events, back when they were held at OMSI.

I’ve always been a very curious person with a strong interest in neuroscience.

I started out volunteering at the OHSU Brain Fair and then became a member of BRAINet, eventually landing here at the resource center.

How long have you volunteered in this position?

I am in my fifth year as a volunteer. There are currently two of us and we could use one more. I work about 4-6 hours per week. It keeps me feeling useful, productive and I’m exposed to a wide circle of very interesting people.

What does your position entail?

I maintain the free resources for OHSU patients regarding various neurological conditions. I always jump up to help patients with whatever they need that day. Sometimes, I’m helping facilitate and orient them to where they can learn more about their condition. I can help explain their condition, but I never give medical advice.

Other times, I’m helping out-of-town visitors get around Portland. I talk to everyone, human-to-human, and help where I can, even if it’s just finding someone a glass of water.

What’s the best thing about being a volunteer?

It’s a very exciting time in brain development research. There are incredible advancements that have been made in imaging techniques and other research that may inform the development of targeted therapies. Researchers are chipping away at finding the underlying causes of various brain disorders. People should feel very hopeful.

The Brain Resource Center is located on the 8th floor of the Center for Health and Healing. 

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 brain lesion, regions of clinical concern, and the normal brain adjacent to it.axial fmri and dti

The goal is to allow the neurosurgeon or clinician to plan the optimal, least invasive approach, and to allow the surgeon to more completely excise a mass or portion of the brain while preserving as much normal function as possible.

How it works:.

Functional MRI is based on changes in blood flow to regions of the brain associated with an activity.

For example, when you move your fingers, the neurons in your brain that tell your finger to move need more oxygenated blood and the body delivers more blood to these cells.

The MRI scanner can measure these very small changes in blood flow and display them on an image. The test is designed to evaluate different tasks such as tapping your fingers or reading/thinking of words.

These tasks allow the MRI to identify these critical areas of the brain cortex before surgery. To identify the “wiring of the brain” or the connections between the cortex and your extremities, we use a technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

3d dtiThis complex MRI sequence allows visualization of the white matter of the brain and shows where regions of the brain are connected.

The fMRI and DTI images are then incorporated together into the operating room so the neurosurgeon can navigate around these critical areas and perform the surgery without damaging these areas.

An fMRI is often indicated for presurgical planning for many conditions including but not limited to epilepsy and brain tumors.

fMRI allows a patient to better understand the potential risks of having surgery. Many studies have shown reduced morbidity and increased survival rates in patients who have had preoperative fMRI.

I started the current fMRI program in 2008 when I arrived at OHSU from Wake Forest University. In the beginning of the program, all the fMRI exams were audio based. Patients would have to listen to words being read to them while in the scanner.

While the fMRI was often successful, the MRI environment is quite loud so some patients had difficulty hearing the words. The potential of the technology was still demonstrated and many patients had great results.

OHSU realized the potential and made significant investments in hardware and software which allowed patients to see the fMRI data with a large MRI compatible LCD monitor.

Now patients will silently read words or follow instructions on the screen to move their fingers. The visual based fMRI system has allowed many more patients to benefit from the technology. In addition to the hardware upgrade, the new software allowed for seamless integration of the fMRI and DTI data into the surgical environment.

Over 300 patients have since been successfully scanned making OHSU one of the most active fMRI programs on the west coast.

What do our providers have to say about this technology?

“There is no doubt that fMRI has revolutionized our approach to patients with a number of brain conditions.

  1.  Notably, fMRI has allowed a much less invasive and specific evaluation of hemispheric dominance for language which in years past required cerebral arteriography and Wada testing.
  2.  fMRI brain mapping has now completely changed epilepsy surgery and tumor surgery such that the surgeon is now armed with knowledge of the discrete functional areas adjacent to tumors or epileptogenic foci.
  3.  DTI has facilitated tumor surgery by allowing the surgeon to avoid vital tracts.
  4.  DTI has allowed us to begin to understand the behavior of implanted brain electrodes (DBS) with respect to dense fiber tracts such as the internal capsule.

Having been here for almost twenty years before this project was instituted, I could see in 2007 how far fMRI had to go to be to even be on a par with other academic medical centers in the area of functional imaging.  To now be in the forefront of this field on the west coast shows how much has been accomplished.  I am very thankful that we have come so far.”

Dr. Kim Burchiel is an OHSU neurosurgeon and pioneer in deep brain stimulation surgery.

Kim J. Burchiel, M.D., F.A.C.S.

John Raaf Professor and Head
Division of Functional Neurosurgery
Department of Neurological Surgery
Professor, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

“Recent AAN guidelines for use of fMRI in epilepsy surgery evaluation will lead to increased utilization of this technology (and fewer Wada tests).”



David Spencer, M.D.
Director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center




“fMRI is crucial to delivering the most advanced neurosurgical care in the world, curing disease while preserving function. As part of our new intra-operative MRI brain surgery program at OHSU, we can now bring functional MRI into the operating room itself, offering the most powerful capabilities to the patients who need our advanced care.”


Nathan R. Selden, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S, F.A.A.P.
Campagna Professor and Chair of the OHSU Department of Neurological Surgery.




The Neuroradiology section of Diagnostic Radiology offers a full range of state of the art computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services for the neuroaxis including the brain, spinal cord, skull, orbits, sinuses, temporal bone, and neck of the adult and pediatric patient. 




Jeffrey M. Pollock, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Radiology




Interested in seeing more images from our neurodiagnostic technicians as well as other examples of #neuroart?
Follow @ohsu_brain on Instagram.

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

Dr. Kim Burchiel is an OHSU neurosurgeon and pioneer in deep brain stimulation surgery.

Dr. Kim Burchiel is an OHSU neurosurgeon and pioneer in deep brain stimulation surgery.

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 treat a patient with DBS, back in 1991, and he’s done it more than 1,000 times since then.

“I had great confidence in Dr. Burchiel because he was part of it so early on and had so much experience,” said Thompson, now 73.

Thompson was considering DBS because, a decade after her diagnosis with Parkinson’s, a progressive brain illness, she was tired of managing symptoms with medication alone. As medication took effect and wore off, she seesawed between having difficulty walking and having useless hands. Even timing a trip to the store became a chore.

Finally, the Beaverton resident thought: “I’m never going to be better than I am today. Can I live with that the rest of my life, maybe 20 or more years? And I just said, ‘No, I couldn’t.’”

* * *

Burchiel studied DBS in France under the neurosurgeon who developed it, Dr. Alim-Louis Benabid, then brought it to the U.S. DBS involves placing tiny electrodes in parts of the brain that control movement, then connecting them to a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest. For 20 years, patients had to be awake during surgery because the surgeon needed responses from the patient to make sure the electrodes were in the right spots.

YouTube Preview ImageIn 2011, Burchiel became a DBS pioneer in his own right by developing “asleep” DBS. He uses MRI and CT scans to place the electrodes while the patient is under general anesthesia. An OHSU study confirmed the new technique’s precision, and “results have been amazingly good,” Burchiel said. He loves seeing grateful patients after “we’ve effectively turned the clock back” on their symptoms.

“Being able to participate in the development of this procedure means everything to me,” he said. “This is my legacy, to a large degree.”

* * *

Burchiel doesn’t work alone, however. DBS patients at OHSU receive coordinated care from a team of specialists in the nationally recognized Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program. The team includes experts in speech therapy, physical therapy, psychology and neurology. Dr. Matthew Brodsky, the medical director of OHSU’s DBS program, is a neurologist who has lectured on Parkinson’s around the world.

“Teamwork is absolutely crucial to this,” Burchiel said. “Other people can do the surgeries that we do. There are other good neurologists in the country. But the fact is, when you put it all together and you have a team that’s been working together for 20 or more years, you really have something special.”

* * *

Marilee Thompson decided to go ahead with DBS at OHSU seven years ago. She’s glad she did.

“I can do so much more and feel so much better,” she said. She still takes medication to manage symptoms, and she’s starting to think about moving from her two-story, 2,500-square-foot home. For now, Thompson, a widow, manages her home and quarter-acre yard with some hired help.

But she also just returned from a two-week trip to Africa — the only continent she hadn’t visited — to see wildlife in Uganda with her sister and the Audubon Society of Portland. “I did everything everyone else did,” she said, including managing steep terrain with only walking sticks.

DBS, she said, enables her to live how she wants. “My outlook on life is just really positive.”

Learn more about DBS, Dr. Kim Burchiel and the care at OHSU on our DBS website.

Neuroscience research news you may have missed

Deep brain stimulation surgery: Eugene patient shares his story

YouTube Preview ImageParkinson’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 the rest of my life. Ill ─ chronically ill. And it’s only going to get worse,” Halstead said. “Those were the darkest days.”

Now, since having deep brain stimulation surgery at OHSU, things are looking up.

* * *

Halstead, now 52, developed a hand tremor more than a decade ago. His doctor at the time didn’t take it seriously, Halstead said, figuring that he had a familial tremor like his dad. Eventually, a doctor at OHSU diagnosed Halstead with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain illness that robs people of the ability to control movement.

Soon “everybody and his dog was sending me videos and some sort of miracle cure or something ─ usually with the word organic in it,” Halstead said. He’d seen a TV show about deep brain stimulation, or DBS, to treat Parkinson’s but at the time wanted no part of it.

Colin Halstead of Eugene is back working in his woodshop after DBS surgery.

Colin Halstead of Eugene is back working in his wood shop after DBS surgery.

DBS involves placing tiny electrodes in the brain and connecting them to a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest that sends low-voltage electrical pulses to help control movement. At the time, patients had to be awake during surgery to respond to questions and commands as the surgeon made sure the electrodes were in the right spots. That’s still the case at many hospitals.

“I did not,” Halstead said, “want to be awake during the procedure.”

But as his symptoms worsened, Halstead found himself watching video after video of DBS surgery on YouTube. He learned that Dr. Kim Burchiel, an OHSU neurosurgeon and DBS expert, had developed a new type of DBS ─ “asleep” DBS. In 2011, Burchiel pioneered using MRI and CT scans to place the electrodes while the patient is under general anesthesia. An OHSU study showed the technique is exceptionally precise.

That was “huge,” Halstead said. “It changed my whole willingness to do it.”

Dr. Sara Batya, Colin Halstead's neurologist, thought Halstead was too young for DBS surgery at first. She reconsidered after talking to OHSU's Dr. Kim Burchiel.

Dr. Sara Batya, Colin Halstead’s neurologist, thought Halstead was too young for DBS surgery at first. She reconsidered after talking to OHSU’s Dr. Kim Burchiel.

* * *

As Halstead was wheeled into Burchiel’s surgical suite in October 2013, he became anxious as he recognized the equipment he’d seen in videos.

“The anesthesiologist came over and said, ‘Would you like to be asleep?’ and I said, ‘Yes, please.’”

The next day, Halstead’s dad, Jim Halstead, came into his room. Colin Halstead said his dad isn’t the emotional type, but “he started crying and said, ‘You look and sound like you used to look and sound.’”

His mom, Suzy Halstead, said: “It was like having our son back. … All the Parkinson’s symptoms for the most part were gone.”

* * *

Now Halstead manages his Parkinson’s motor symptoms with one pill a day. His voice and facial expressions are back. He no longer needs a cane.

“I have an umbrella stand that has all my canes in it in the living room,” he said. “It’s a reminder every day that I don’t have to use those anymore.”

He works full time as a counselor at Eugene’s First Baptist Church, overseeing about 20 support programs for people coping with divorce, loss and other issues. His supervisor, instead of suggesting he consider disability, recently encouraged Halstead to pace himself.

Colin Halstead's parents, Jim (left) and Suzy (right) are delighted with the results of their son's DBS surgery. It was like having our son back," Suzy Halstead said.

Colin Halstead’s parents, Jim (left) and Suzy (right) are delighted with the results of their son’s DBS surgery. “It was like having our son back,” Suzy Halstead said.

Halstead is also back to pursuing his love of travel, cooking and woodworking.

Since the surgery, he has traveled to Italy, where he hiked the uneven stone paths of Cinque Terra with only a walking stick. Next fall, he plans to tour Iceland in a camper van and then attend his 30th college reunion in Minneapolis. Next spring, he plans to visit New Zealand.

He’s back in his wood shop, completing projects to expand his living room and to outfit a teardrop trailer with windows, a bed and a fold-out kitchen. He figures he’s made about 30 double batches of biscotti to give away over the past year, using a friend’s sworn-to-secrecy recipe.

Dr. Sara Batya, his Eugene neurologist, tells him he’s a “poster child” for DBS because his response has been so good.

Even so, he had bouts with that he calls “Riverdance leg” early on, and he still has occasional tremors. He finds relief by adjusting his DBS settings with a remote device. He also has trouble with fine motor skills, such as opening plastic bags at the grocery store.

He knows DBS isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s disease. For now, nothing is.

Still, he would do it all again. “I tell people I’d do this once a year if I had to,” he said. DBS “gave me most of my life back.”

Learn more about DBS, Dr. Kim Burchiel and the care at OHSU on our DBS website.

The role of the athletic trainer in the concussion clinic


For many years athletic trainers have been on the sidelines helping concussed athletes, starting with the initial injury through the return-to-play process, and back onto the field.

We use our education and skills to assess and treat injured athletes, to make sure they don’t re-enter the game with concussion symptoms, to help them get the support they need in the school setting, and to collaborate with team physicians to make sure these athletes can safely return to the sports they love.

I spent eight years working on the sidelines before having the opportunity to bring this knowledge and skill set into the Sports Medicine Clinic at OHSU Gabriel Park.

At the clinic, I am the first person concussed patients see when they enter our concussion program. I gather information from the patient and their referring providers and utilize a variety of tests for balance, vision, and cognition in order to provide our physicians the most accurate and up to date information before they even walk into the room.

The physician reviews and assesses this information allowing for a much more efficient use of time with the patient so they can start on the most effective path to recovery.

After the patient leaves the first appointment with the physician, my role in the recovery process continues.

I am the patient’s “go-to” person in the clinic for questions regarding paperwork, referrals, or even just support as they walk the road to recovery.

I, at times, have the privilege to walk the road to recovery with patients from the first impact all the way to the return to the activity, providing continuity of care along the way.

If you do sustain a concussion I hope you come visit our clinic so we can work together to get you back to the activities you love.
Ryan Rockwood, ATC is a Certified Athletic Trainer in the OHSU Sports Medicine Clinic at Gabriel Park.

Researcher and neurologist grateful for early-career grant

The Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff grant was the first research grant I ever received.

I was a neurology resident at the time, and with guidance from Dr. Jeff Kaye, the OHSU Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center director, I applied for funds to complete a clinical study of a commonly used “outcome measure” in clinical trials with Alzheimer’s disease.2015_02_NEU_Liedtke_129-1200x628

That was also my first clinical research study.  We were able to publish the results in an excellent neurology journal, and the study introduced me to several leaders in the Alzheimer’s research field.

The Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff pilot grant and its products were key to my subsequent receipt of a “VA Career Development Award”, a 6-year grant that included a faculty appointment and “protected time” to launch a research career.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to continue in academic neurology, publish more than 100 scholarly papers, and advance to a leadership position.

I’m very grateful for the Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff grant and the start it gave me towards a very satisfying career.





Joseph F. Quinn, M.D.
Professor of Neurology, OHSU School of Medicine



You can contribute to Alzheimer’s research—in Oregon—by donating part, or all, of your tax refund to “Alzheimer’s Disease Research” on Schedule OR-DONATE, Oregon Charitable Checkoff Donations, on your 2016 tax form.

This research will increase our understanding of Alzheimer’s and bring us closer to new treatments, test ways to give effective support to caregivers and families of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and pave the way for additional funding from the National Institutes of Health and other national research programs.

Funds are administered through OHSU under the direction of Oregon Partnership for Alzheimer’s Research.

For more information, please contact:
Allison Lindauer, Ph.D., N.P.
Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center

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.