Discover how alcohol, gaming, and marijuana impact your brain

Indulging in pleasurable activities is sometimes characterized as a dichotomy of good or bad. But is it all or nothing when it comes to the brain? When are healthy pleasures susceptible to harmful effects?

Our 2016 Brain Awareness Season will delve into the brain science behind three very popular pastimes: alcohol, gaming, and marijuana.

Held at the Newmark Theater in downtown Portland (sometimes called “Brains on Broadway”), this series features nationally known neuroscience experts and authors.


Alcohol and the brain
Monday, February 22
7–8:30 p.m.

grant-head-banner600x600The positive health benefits of red wine have been popular news headlines for many years. In moderation, alcohol has been seen to improve cardiovascular health, immune system response, and even prevent gallstones.

On the other hand, the negative health and social impacts of alcoholism are apparent in just as much news coverage. Dr. Kathleen Grant will explore how behavioral neuroscience informs how, why, and when the risks of alcohol may outweigh the benefits.

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Gaming and the brain
Monday, February 29
7–8:30 p.m.

gazzaley-head-banner600x600The generation just coming of age has been exposed to more electronic technology than any one prior to it. Video games in particular have drawn scrutiny as influencing the obesity epidemic, attention deficits, and pronounced violence of our youth.

They also show promise as educational tools, memory enhancers, and improving high-level thinking. Dr. Adam Gazzaley will present the science behind your brain on games.

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Marijuana and the brain
Monday, March 7
7–8:30 p.m.

stella-head-banner600x600Oregon recently joined only three other states to legalize recreational marijuana. As consumption of the plant’s products becomes more a mainstream activity, its health benefits and risks will be at the forefront of policy discussions.

Dr. Nephi Stella will explain the role marijuana plays in cutting edge neuroscience research.

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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 12, 2016
10 a.m.–5 p.m.brain-fair-03-1200x628

The OHSU Brain Fair is an annual event at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI). The Brain Fair is held each spring.

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, April 16, 2016

Let a teacher in your life know about this  special day for classroom teachers featuring presentations on the adolescent brain and early-life nutrition and a highly interactive resource fair.

Speakers include Bonnie Nagel, Ph.D. and Susan Bagby. M.D. who will touch on how addiction manifests itself  in the brains of youth, among other telling research.

Register now