Year in review: The most popular “On the Brain” posts of 2017

CROET head, Photo by Aaron Bieleck, Ed Comm Photography

As we welcome in 2018, here’s a look back at the ten most popular posts of 2017.

1. 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. Read more…

2. Five common myths about the brain
Here are five common myths about the brain – and the truth behind them. Read more…

3. 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. Read more…

4. Brain donation at OHSU

If a patient has a brain disease, usually the family will donate the brain for study after death for a couple of reasons. The first is to find out the final diagnosis. The second is to understand what this means for other family members, usually children or siblings. They want to know what are the chances that others in the family will get this or a similar brain disease? Read more…

5. Understanding frontotemporal dementia

For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of leading a support group for family caregivers of persons with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and related disorders.

The group’s creation was based on an observation among our clinicians at the OHSU Aging and Alzheimer’s Clinic that the typical Alzheimer’s Disease support group did not always meet the needs of families dealing with FTD. Read more…

6. Celebrating our ROSE Award winners

We’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. Read more…

7. 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.

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. Read more…

8. Taking a seat at the table as an advocate for science

Our first meeting on Capitol Hill was in the office of Senator Jeff Merkley.

I was seated across from a staff member with expertise in health policy and next to neuroscience department chairs and researchers with distinguished careers.

Alissa Ortman, Outreach Manager for Society for Neuroscience (SfN), introduced us: “Here are the neuroscientists.” Read more…

9. Concussion clinic improves care through integration of specialties

The Concussion Treatment Clinic within our sports medicine department is constantly assessing how to best diagnose, treat and help people recover from concussions. Read more…

10. Meet the minds behind NW Noggin, a K-12 neuroscience outreach program

At 8 a.m. in an eastern Washington elementary school gymnasium, Bill Griesar, Ph.D. ’01, is in a situation that would make anyone else sweat. Dr. Griesar has brought his group of neuroscience outreach volunteers – undergraduate and graduate students hailing from OHSU, Portland State University and Washington State University Vancouver – to Davenport, Wash., to teach schoolchildren about brains and neuroscience. But he has just discovered that the pipe cleaners used to construct neuron models were nearly used up the day before. Read more…

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