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

Lecture series explores the secret life of the brain

The workings of the brain remain mysterious.

Moral choices, the effects of physical touch, vivid dreams—we may not know how or why they happen, but they all can serve a purpose.

Our 2017 Brain Awareness Season lecture series delves into The Secret Life of the Brain.

The Criminal Brain
Monday, March 20
7–8:30 p.m.

Tavi Choi 120Why do some people live lawful lives, while others gravitate toward repeated criminality? Do people choose to be moral or immoral, or is morality simply a genetically inherited function of the brain, like mathematical ability?

Research suggests certain regions of the brain influence moral reasoning.

Dr. Octavio Choi will explore how emerging neuroscience challenges long-held assumptions underlying the basis—and punishment—of criminal behavior.

Buy your tickets now

Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind
Monday, March 27
7–8:30 p.m.

David Linden 2Dual-function receptors in our skin make mint cool and chili peppers hot.

Without the brain’s dedicated centers for pleasure and emotional touch, an orgasm would feel more like a sneeze—convulsive, but not especially nice.

Dr. David Linden, New York Times-best-selling author of The Compass of Pleasure, delves into how the organization of our body’s touch circuits is a complex and often counter-intuitive system that affects everything from social interactions to general health and development.

Buy your tickets now

Sleep, Memory and Dreams: Putting it all together
Tuesday, April 4
7–8:30 p.m.

Robert Stickgold 120It’s no secret that without a good night’s sleep we feel mentally sluggish. But what does our brain do while we sleep? Is there a scientific reason we dream?

Dr. Robert Stickgold will explore why dreaming and sleep are key to retaining, strengthening and processing new memories and skills.

Buy your tickets now

The Season also includes the always popular Brain Fair and Teacher Workshop. Don’t miss these free opportunities to learn about the brain.

OHSU Brain Institute Brain Fair
Saturday, March 11, 2017
10 a.m.–5 p.m.

kids touching a brain
The OHSU Brain Fair is an annual event at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI).

This year’s Brain Fair includes interactive exhibits, real human and animal brains, prizes and dozens of OHSU Brain Institute neuroscientists explaining and demonstrating their groundbreaking research in a way that will be fascinating for all ages.

No museum admission is required to attend.

Brain Awareness Teacher Workshop
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sponsored in partnership with OHSU’s Office of Science Education Opportunities, The Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness and the OHSU Brain Institute, the annual Teacher Workshop is a unique opportunity designed to give teachers an insight into what role neuroscience plays in the classroom.

Speakers include Lawrence Sherman, Ph.D. and Lynne Messer, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Registration is currently full. Please email to be added to the wait-list.

Finding ways beyond the clinic to help patients navigate life with epilepsy



How much can you explain about epilepsy in a clinic visit?

When I meet with a new patient in clinic who has epilepsy, the discussion inevitably focuses on their seizures. What medications have been tried to control the seizures? Did they work? Did they produce side effects? How can we improve on what has already been tried?

But of course, anyone who has epilepsy knows that epilepsy is so much more than seizures.

Our professional societies have appropriately emphasized other things that should be discussed in clinic visits, and often these are among the primary concerns of our patients.

Several safety concerns should be discussed, including driving safety, occupational risks, and safety with swimming or bathing, among others. Women of childbearing age should be informed about pregnancy risks from seizures and anti-seizure medication, and preventive strategies should be reviewed.

There should be a discussion about the effects of anti-seizure medications on bone health and osteoporosis. The frequent occurrence of depression and anxiety in people with epilepsy should be addressed.  Patients need to be cautioned about the potential mood effects and possible suicidal thoughts that can be related to anti-seizure medication.

If seizures are not well controlled, non-medication treatments such as epilepsy surgery or medical devices to treat epilepsy should be discussed.

My point was probably clear several sentences ago—too many topics and too little time!

Maybe not everything can fit in a clinic visit, and other tools are needed.

Part of my work in neurology education has been focused on direct patient education.  For the last 10 years, I have been co-editor of the “Patient Page” feature of our leading professional journal

In the Patient Page, we ask neurology experts to translate the latest scientific studies being reported in the journal into lay language and to put the findings into context.

Instead of sound-byte journalism, where we may hear one month that “blueberries prevent disease x” and the next month, that “blueberry consumption has been associated with disease y”, these articles go more in depth to explain how the research was done, what the main findings were, and most importantly, what they mean to people with the condition being studied.

I have also served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the patient publication Neurology Now since its inception.  Neurology Now is an award-winning magazine sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Subscriptions are free, and the goal is to connect people with neurological conditions and their caregivers to reliable information about their conditions and to illustrate how others have successfully navigated life with that condition.

It was, therefore, a natural progression for a book series for patients to arise from Neurology Now. Successful books on several topics (for example, Navigating Life with Parkinson’s Disease, Navigating the Complexities of Stroke) were early titles, and I was thrilled when the organizers of the series asked me to author a book titled Navigating Life with Epilepsy.

I knew it would take time, careful planning, discussions with other experts, and further in-depth discussions with my own patients to meet this challenge, but I saw the potential to close the gap between what can be covered in clinic and everything else that I want my patients to know.

Look for more about the journey in my next post…





David C. Spencer, M.D., F.A.A.N. is a professor of neurology, director of the OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and director of the OHSU Epilepsy Fellowship Program.


How the Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff Program boosted one researcher’s career

Like many aspiring young clinical researchers, my journey began with an NIH funded post-doctoral fellowship with a goal to eventually develop my own independent research program. As a neuropsychologist with specialty training in smart home technologies and aging, I am interested exploring how we can develop new innovative assessment tools to improve the early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

With these interests and background, I was fortunate to obtain a fellowship position in the NIA-funded Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at OHSU working under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, who is an authority in investigating the use of innovative technology to improve successful aging.

As a post-doctoral fellow, I was eligible to apply for several regional pilot grant opportunities designed for junior investigators who need pilot data to support larger national grant applications.

In 2015 I competed successfully for a research grant made possible by Oregon citizens through the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund of the Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff GettyImages-635722946-senior-in-carProgram.

Securing this grant allowed me to carry out a 1-year pilot study to explore how monitoring the driving patterns of older adults can be used as a new tool for measuring brain health.

We tracked frequency, time of day, routes traveled, and amount of time spent driving in a small sample of seniors for 6 months. Results from this and future studies will help researchers understand how changes in routine driving habits as people age may be related to risk for developing dementia.

Having practical, non-invasive tools that can identify Alzheimer’s Disease as early as possible will be critical for effective treatment once medications become available.

Receiving grant support from the Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff Program provided me with the opportunity to gather pilot data that I recently used to support a national (NIH) multi-site grant application for research on a larger scale to advance earlier detection, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

My NIH grant application would not have been possible without the generosity of Oregon citizens through the Charitable Tax Checkoff Program. After completing my post-doctoral fellowship I was able to obtain an assistant faculty position and am on a clear path to developing an independent program to advance research on Alzheimer’s Disease.


Adriana Seelye


Adriana M. Seelye, Ph.D. is an early career investigator in the Oregon Center for Aging & Technology (ORCATECH) and the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at OHSU.



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


Fatal fits and nods affect us all

fred-age-14-tumanguA child with intractable seizures is heartbreaking for family, friends and the neurologist who searches for effective therapy. But a child with intractable seizures who lives in dire poverty, who is malnourished, who cannot obtain medications, and who is rejected by government, by school and eventually by a desperate family is utterly devastating to anyone with compassion for humanity.

This is precisely the situation today for thousands of children affected by Nodding Syndrome in northern Uganda and South Sudan. A child with this illness visibly nods their head up and down when stimulated by food or cold. The child may develop mental and behavioral problems, develop generalized seizures, have lapses in consciousness, fall into fires or drown in a river. It can affect multiple children in a single family, which itself seeks to survive with meager food, dirty water and no social support. They resort to tying their sick children to trees to stop them wandering but, eventually, neglect sets in as they turn their attention to survival of the fittest: themselves and their remaining healthy children.

How did this happen? What is the cause? How can it be prevented?

The setting is one of prolonged politics-driven human conflict, civil unrest, population migration to internal displacement camps and the provision of emergency food supplies.

In Uganda, an important component was the war between the separatist movement known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government, which resulted in LRA recruitment of large numbers of child soldiers who were required to perform unspeakable acts of violence on their own families and communities. Yet, none of these children are known to have developed Nodding Syndrome.

In South Sudan, the children of cattle herders were spared, the epidemic falling on sessile subsistence farmers who grew crops for their own use with leftover sold at market. Families who lived by fast-flowing rivers where black flies breed had children more at risk for Nodding Syndrome, and a nematode parasite transmitted from insect to child was prominent in children with the brain disease. Some thought this parasite, which causes River Blindness, also causes Nodding Syndrome but it now seems likely this is a secondary infection because of a compromised immune system.

Peter Spencer, Ph.D., a professor of Neurology at OHSU, together with Valerie Palmer, OHSU Instructor of Neurology, has researched Nodding Syndrome in the three affected countries: South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Spencer participated in a World Health Organization outbreak investigation team in then-southern Sudan that first defined the illness [1].  In Tanzania, Spencer and Palmer surveyed the high-incidence focus of Nodding Syndrome and, with original clinical notes dating from 1960, demonstrated that head nodding was recorded as early as 1934 [2]. Then, in Uganda, they worked with OHSU students to show the relationship between civil war, population internment, and the outbreak of Nodding Syndrome [3]. In 2014, with dedicated NIH grant support, they joined with OHSU, OSU, and Ugandan researchers to carry out a case-control study of Nodding Syndrome in the devastated community described above. They announced their preliminary findings at an international conference on Nodding Syndrome in northern Uganda [4] and recently published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences, an official journal of the World Federation of Neurology [5].

The case-control study revealed that children with Nodding Syndrome had a significantly higher history of measles infection in Internal Displacement Camps, where population density was high, immunization was unavailable and food in very short supply such that affected families relied more on moldy maize.

Drawing on publicly available data, they showed that a measles epidemic had preceded the Nodding Syndrome by several years, a temporal relationship similar to that of measles and a devastating neurodegenerative disease called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE).

They pointed out the similar clinical features of Nodding Syndrome and SSPE and called for detailed neuropathological studies to prove or disprove the relationship between measles and Nodding Syndrome.  The CDC had found crystalline structures in the brains of three affected children but the results had been uncertain and never published. However, cellular crystalline structures are found in SSPE and correspond to huge numbers of measles virus nucleocapsids that migrate to and then hide in the brain after the initial infant illness.  What causes their release from the brain years later is unknown, but Spencer and colleagues raise the possibility that immunosuppressive fungal toxins in moldy food may be key.

Nodding Syndrome is a devastating degenerative disease of the brain that nevertheless can be stabilized with the anti-seizure medication and proper nutrition. This has been demonstrated by the remarkable successes of a U.S. charity, Hope for Humans, that has cared and nurtured affected children in Uganda. However, their successes have not been widely recognized and their activities in Uganda are now threatened by financial shortages and lack of government support.

Hope for Humans partners with Dr. Spencer’s team in their effort to understand and prevent Nodding Syndrome, but this dreadful illness will not be overcome unless public support is forthcoming. While Hope for Humans seeks your support, Dr. Spencer’s international team continues to seek NIH support to test their hypothesis that Nodding Syndrome is a parameasles disorder that can be prevented by proper infant vaccination.

If true, this is an important lesson for all societies, our own included, to ensure that all infants receive recommended vaccinations not only to prevent childhood illnesses but also the devastating consequences later in life. Measles is just one of many so-called neurotropic viruses that can hide in the brain for years or decades before they reactivate and cause neurodegenerative disease.

Read more about this OHSU group’s global health studies, including research on a remarkable environmentally caused neurodegenerative disease that combines features of ALS, parkinsonism and Alzheimer-like dementia [6] and Palmer’s creative interprofessional educational course for OHSU health professional students right here in Portland [7].


1.     Spencer, P.S., Vandemaele, K., Richer, M., Palmer, V.S., Chungong S., Anker, M., Ayana, Y., Ayana, Y., Opoka, M.L, Klaucke, D.N, Quarello and Tumwine, J.K. Nodding Syndrome in Mundri County, South Sudan: Environmental, nutritional and infectious factors. African Health Sciences, 13:183-204, 2013.

2.     Spencer, P.S., Palmer, V.S. and Jilek-Aall, L. Nodding Syndrome: Origins and natural history of a longstanding epileptic disorder in sub-Sahara. African Health Sciences 13:176-82, 2013.

3.     Landis, J.L., Palmer, V.S., and Spencer, P.S. Nodding Syndrome in Kitgum District, Uganda: Association with conflict and displacement. BMJ Open, 2014 Nov 4;4(11):e006195. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006195.

4.     Spencer, P.S., Kitara, D.L., Gazda S, and Winkler, A. Nodding Syndrome: 2015 International Conference Report and Gulu Accord. eNeurologicalSci 2016, pp. 80-83.  doi 10.1016/j.ensci.2015.11.001

5.     Spencer, P.S., Mazumder, R., Palmer, V.S., Lasarev, M.L., Stadnik, R.C.; King, P., Kabahenda, M., Kitara, D.L., Stadler, D., and Tumwine, J.K. Environmental, dietary and case-control study of Nodding Syndrome in Uganda: A post-measles brain disorder triggered by malnutrition? Journal of Neurological Sciences, 369:191-203, 2016.

6.     Spencer, P.S., Palmer, V.S., and Kisby, G.E. Seeking environmental causes of neurodegenerative disease and envisioning primary prevention. NeuroToxicology 2016 Apr 2. pii: S0161-813X(16)30039-0. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2016.03.017. [Epub ahead of print]

7.     Palmer, V.S., Mazumder, R., and Spencer, P.S. Interprofessional global health education in a cosmopolitan community of North America: The iCHEE experience. Academic Medicine 2014 Aug;89(8):1149-52. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000363..  Initially epublished as: Interprofessional Global Health Education at Oregon Health & Science University: The interprofessional Community Health and Education Exchange (iCHEE) Experience. Academic Medicine, June 10, 2014 [Epub ahead of print].

Sleep expert shares his secrets for easing into the upcoming time change

The end of daylight saving time is soon approaching, and while most of us look forward to that “extra” hour of sleep, there are a few things to think about when society’s clock changes, but our biological clock doesn’t.Autumn leafs and alarm clock on wooden table.

With the time change, our streets and roads become darker closer to rush hour. This poses increased danger for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

Studies have shown increased accidents due to poor visibility and possibly because of increased drowsiness in darker environments.

Here are some tips to help you get through the upcoming time change.

1. Preparation

Generally speaking, it is easier for us to adapt to the fall time change because it is easier to stay up later than to sleep earlier. However, there are those that do have difficulty staying up later than their usual time, and if time allows, they should try to do so as the days approach the end of daylight saving time. The principle is to keep roughly the same schedule you normally did before the time change.

2. Get a good night’s sleep

Sometimes people try to “take advantage” of the extra hour by staying up late and partaking in things that are known to disrupt sleep further such as alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime.

3. Use light to your advantage

The strongest determinant of your biological clock (or your “circadian rhythm”) is light. The fall time change heralds shorter and darker days. For some, this can lead to disrupted sleep schedules and even depression. If there is natural sunlight, this can be helpful to combat these problems. In the absence of natural light, light box therapy has been used to both adjust people’s biological clocks and to combat seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression associated with darker days.

4. Remember safety

Remember that time changes are associated with increased automobile, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Be careful out there. Also use this time to remind you to make your home safer. Check your batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the supplies of any emergency preparedness kits you may have, especially ones for the winter. See that your fire extinguishers are up to date.

What are your strategies for dealing with the time change? Share them in the comments!


Gopal Allada, M.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine who specializes in Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Medicine.

First annual Art of Neuroscience competition now accepting entries

The first annual ‘Art of Neuroscience’ competition is now accepting entries. All OHSU staff, faculty and students/trainees are invited to submit an original image that explores the aesthetics of brain and mind as a broad topic.

From molecules to psychiatry, all interpretations of the artistic aspects of neuroscience are welcome.

We are delighted to have a special category and prize designated just for high school students.

gettyimages-175538084-brain-paintingStudents should submit their art with the same information (including school) and format as detailed below.

Prizes will be awarded at the OHSU Brain Institute Annual Forum on Friday, November 18.

The winner from the high school category will be invited to attend the forum with his or her art teacher and family.

Submission Requirements

  • Format: JPEG
  • Information to include: Title of Image; Description of Image (<100 words); Artist’s Name and Department or School
  • Deadline: Monday, October 31

Submit images to:

Voting will be open to all OHSU staff, faculty and students/trainees from November 7 through November 16, and the winners will be announced at the OBI Annual Forum on Friday, November 18.


Oregon Poison Center experts discuss marijuana with educators from around the nation

nacct16-fb-banner-jpgThe Oregon Poison Center at OHSU recently presented on Oregon’s new marijuana laws from a poison prevention outlook at the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology 2016 (NACCT).

Members of the Oregon Poison Center packed their bags and headed to Boston for this year’s annual toxicology conference. “Marijuana: The Poison Prevention Outlook” was one of the most anticipated sessions for the nation’s poison center educators.

In this session, Fiorella Carhuaz, the health educator for the Oregon Poison Center, explained the latest legalization laws and Oregon’s current marijuana use prevention campaigns. nacct-pic-fio-jpg

The Poison Center plays an important role in these efforts, along with their own educational programs, which include presentations to injury prevention groups and other interested groups, as well as making data reports easily accessible to the public. 

Carhuaz also spoke about the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) “Educate Before You Recreate” campaign, an educational campaign to increase awareness of what legalization means in Oregon. The OHA is also working on a teen marijuana use prevention campaign that is currently in its piloting phase.

The Oregon Poison Center has been collaborating with public health entities and has been releasing data reports to help better understand how legalization is affecting the calls made to the OPC. Carhuaz has also been giving presentations on marijuana to injury prevention groups and parent groups in both English and Spanish.

To make a request for a presentation please contact her directly at

The Oregon Poison Center reiterates that people of all ages should call them regarding marijuana exposures. They do not judge and are there to help. The Poison Help Hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

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