Health Magazine | Winter 2020

In this issue

Up front: Introducing OHSU Health

OHSU Health System marketing poster of South Waterfront

What is OHSU Health? It’s an entire network of people, places and innovations ushering in the future of health.

For more than 100 years, the partners of OHSU Health have been caring for all of our region's health needs. Together with Tuality Healthcare in Hillsboro and Adventist Health in East Portland, OHSU can now offer leading-edge care to more neighborhoods in Portland and beyond.

OHSU Health is a unique platform for innovation—a way to bring what happens in labs and classrooms to Oregonians where they live and work. Not only can you get convenient care close to home, but OHSU Health’s primary care doctors can now connect you to directly to specialists at the state’s top hospital, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

OHSU Health includes 52 care locations in the Portland-metro area, with OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and nearly 1,000 beds at the three adult hospitals.


Health Magazine Winter 2020 | nerve cell MS study

Repairing nerve damage

An international team of researchers led by OHSU has discovered a compound that appears to repair the protective sheath for nerves (myelin) in the body.

Health Magazine Winter 2020 | exercise class as a treatment for cancer

A new prescription for cancer?

New guidance helps providers prescribe specific doses of aerobic and resistance training for individual patients.

Health Magazine Winter 2020 | sleep disorder VA study

Sleep disorders in veterans

A study of 394 veterans by researchers at VA Portland Health Care System and OHSU showed that 9% have a rare sleep disorder, and the rate increased to 21% among those with PTSD.

Q&A: Your Questions, Expert Answers

Matthew Brodsky headshot

Anyone with disabling or bothersome essential tremor should seek an evaluation by a neurologist.

A procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS) is very effective for essential tremor and can make for a better quality of life without medication. With DBS, tiny, implanted electrodes work like a pacemaker for the brain. At OHSU, you will be asleep during the procedure and spend a night in the hospital. Then there are typically three follow-up meetings to program and fine-tune the device.

We can adjust the device over time if needed, and it has been known to last for over 10 years. DBS has been approved to treat essential tremor for about 30 years, but OHSU is using the newest version of this device. We expect this upgraded technology to have even better results for patients.

A neurologist can tell you if DBS could be an option, and most insurance providers cover this proven method.

Matthew A. Brodsky, M.D.

OHSU Brain Institute

Henry Lin headshot

Constipation is a very common condition in childhood. In children, we consider constipation if there is more than two days between bowel movements, large or hard bowel movements, and toileting accidents among children who are potty-trained.

Most children with constipation don’t have an underlying medical problem causing it. Some common things related to constipation are not taking in enough liquids and fiber, too much dairy, lack of exercise and stress or anxiety.

Once constipated, it often takes a combination of medications to soften stools and move things along, so you should talk to your child’s provider.

To prevent constipation, try adjusting your child’s diet and watch for stress factors that could be impacting your child. If constipation is ongoing, it’s important to rule out medical issues, such as Celiac disease (unable to process gluten), thyroid or spinal cord problems.

Henry Lin, M.D., M.B.A.

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Heike Huchler, D.N.P., F.N.P., headshot

Yes! In Family Medicine, we are trained to care for the whole age spectrum, from newborns to seniors.

To me, the beauty of family practice is the deeper understanding and connection I have with my patients by treating family units. It gives me better awareness of genetic or inherited issues and insight into how family dynamics or changes may be affecting health.

For example, if I discover a young parent has high cholesterol, I might screen the children at a younger age. If a parent shares about losing a job, I can watch for signs of anxiety or depression in the children. If a child or an adult has a complex medical condition, our providers can refer to a specialist.

Having a primary care provider ensures you have one person looking out for every aspect of your health. In fact, people with primary care providers are more likely to live longer, healthier lives.

Heike Huchler, D.N.P., F.N.P.

OHSU Tuality Healthcare Primary Care South Hillsboro

Nandita Gupta headshot

Eighty percent of women will have at least one pregnancy, and about 30% develop a complication that could increase the risk of heart disease later in life.

Women who had preterm delivery, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia (high blood pressure complications) have more than twice the risk for stroke and heart attack later.

Women should discuss this risk with their providers, so together they can aggressively follow guidelines for controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, maintaining a healthy weight, diet and exercise.

More and more data are bearing out gender differences in cardiovascular disease. Even among shared risk factors in both genders, the results can be different. For example, women who smoke are at a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular disease than men who smoke. Also, because the current method of calculating cardiovascular risk is not gender specific, women need to speak up about any pregnancy complications (even if years ago) to providers.

Nandita Gupta, M.D.

OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute

Dr. Nandita Gupta, Assistant Professor of Cardiology at Knight Cardiovascular Institute and Medical Director of Hillsboro Medical Center Cardiovascular Services, will be launching a cardiovascular clinic at Hillsboro Medical Center in 2020 in order to improve access to cardiovascular care for western Washington County.

V. Liana Tsikitis headshot

Not necessarily, but you should visit your primary care provider and share any changes in bowel habits.

Please don’t let embarrassment or shyness stop you from telling your provider about this. We have to be proactive about any possible signs of colorectal cancer, because it is nearly fully curable if found at an early stage.

The current guidelines suggest testing for colorectal cancer beginning at 50 years old, but we are seeing a trend of younger people diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Anyone can get colorectal cancer; there doesn’t have to be any family history. Also, there often aren’t any early symptoms. So, any changes in stools and bowel habits that repeat shouldn’t be ignored. Your provider can suggest the best test, if needed, and refer you to a colorectal specialist.

V. Liana Tsikitis, M.D., M.C.R., M.B.A., F.A.C.S., F.A.S.C.R.S.

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Lara Atwater headshot

Arthritis of the ankle is often associated with old injuries, such as ankle sprains and fractures. Painful or unstable ankles can make daily activities and favorite pastimes (such as golf, yoga and playing with grandchildren) difficult.

An ankle fusion is a dependable option, but the technology is now at a point where a total ankle replacement (TAR) is a better solution for most active, healthy people. The latest implants naturally mimic the ankle joint. Also, new techniques cause less tissue damage, meaning a faster recovery and fewer complications.

Some people may have been told TAR won’t work for them, but these new options can address a wider range of issues than previously available. It’s also a great option for people who already have arthritis in their feet, as a fusion can worsen or even cause arthritis in other foot joints.

Lara C. Atwater, M.D.

OHSU Orthopaedics And Rehabilitation
Portland clinic: 503-494-7600
Hillsboro clinic: 503-844-8219

Questions or suggestions?

We'd love to hear your feedback! Email us.