Oregon Health & Science University


About OHSU Health

Your family’s well-being is important to us. That’s why OHSU’s Health magazine brings you the latest research news, expert advice and event listings to help you stay current and keep your family healthy. Our magazine is intended to educate and inform: If you have urgent medical issues or in-depth questions, please talk to your health care provider.

Got questions or suggestions? We’d love to hear your feedback: Email us at editor@ohsu.edu

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At the top of the list

U.S. News & World Report established their“Best Hospitals” rankings to help patients understand which hospitals deliver outstanding care. And for the sixth consecutive year, they have ranked OHSU as the No. 1 hospital in Oregon, according to U.S. News Best Hospitals 2016–2017.  According to the magazine, no other hospital in Oregon is nationally ranked in as many specialties as OHSU. U.S. News also ranked OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital among the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals in seven pediatric specialties, including cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. Seven adult specialties at OHSU rank among the top 50 in the country. Those areas are:

  • Cancer (No. 36)
  • Cardiology and heart surgery (No. 36 — newly ranked)
  • Diabetes and endocrinology (No. 35 — newly ranked)
  • Ear, nose and throat (No. 18)
  • Geriatrics (No. 38)
  • Nephrology (No. 37 — newly ranked)
  • Urology (No. 24 — newly ranked)

In addition, U.S. News designated several OHSU specialties as "high-performing”: gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.

From common health concerns to specialized treatments, it is an honor to provide care for you and your family. We are thankful for your continued trust in OHSU and will keep doing our best to maintain your confidence and respect.

Research News

New research could affect diabetes treatment

Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the United States. It is caused by the dysfunction or loss of insulin-producing beta cells, which help the body achieve normal blood sugar levels. Previously, only a single type of beta cell was known to exist.

However, recent research from stem cell scientist Markus Grompe, M.D., shows that at least four separate types of insulin-producing beta cells may exist. Using pancreatic islets, or clusters of up to 4,000 cells, Dr. Grompe and colleagues discovered a method to identify and isolate four distinct types of beta cells. More research is needed to determine how different forms of diabetes — and other diseases — affect these beta cells, as well as how researchers might use these differences for medical treatment.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Helmsley Trust. Researchers from OHSU, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the University of California, San Francisco, contributed to the study.

Help for metastatic prostate cancer

Research from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is reviving hope for men with life-threatening prostate cancer. In a study led by Julie Graff, M.D., 10 men with metastatic prostate cancer resistant to androgen deprivation therapy were treated with the drug pembrolizumab.

Three of the first 10 participants enrolled in the clinical trial had rapid reductions in prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, an early way to evaluate a treatment’s effect. Subsequent imaging scans showed tumors shrank in two of these three men, including metastatic liver tumors in one patient. Two of the three participants who responded to the treatment gained relief from pain and were able to stop taking pain medication.

It’s not yet known whether this can improve survival in men with metastatic prostate cancer, and it’s not possible to select which patients are likely to respond to the treatment. But in spite of the uncertainties, Dr. Graff and colleagues say the results in the men whose cancer responded to the treatment clearly stand out. The study was published in the journal Oncotarget.

A better understanding of antidepressants?

Serotonin is a chemical that regulates the activity of many of the body’s behaviors and processes, including heart function, digestion, temperature, endocrinology and reproduction. It also manages sleep, mood, pain, hunger and aggression.

The serotonin transporter serves as a pump for serotonin molecules. Though selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are widely prescribed to treat anxiety and depression, the molecular mechanism by which they block the transporter is not fully understood. Researchers at OHSU’s Vollum Institute have developed detailed 3-D views of how the serotonin transporter works, using X-ray crystallography.

This visualization provides insight into how SSRIs interact with and inhibit serotonin transport. Visualizing this molecular structure may create a platform for designing new, more effective antidepressants. The study was published in the journal Nature.

Upcoming Events

Please see current upcoming events in the latest edition of the OHSU Health Magazine

Health Spotlight

Each issue, we bring timely health tips and information to help you and your family live healthier lives. Got a question or health issue you’d like our experts to address? Email us at editor@ohsu.edu.

In selected issues, Health will feature light and healthy recipes developed by the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. Enjoy the inspiration, and if there’s a type of cuisine you’d like us to feature, please feel free to contact us at editor@ohsu.edu.

Featured recipe

Chicken and Broccoli, Kashmiri-Style
Makes 6 servings

6 bone-in chicken thighs
1 large head of broccoli, trimmed into florets 2 inches long and 1 inch wide
2 tablespoons mustard oil (if not available, any other vegetable oil can be used except olive oil)
6 cloves
6 peppercorns
3 crushed cardamom pods
1-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
1 bay leaf, broken into 6 pieces
2 heaping teaspoons fennel powder
1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Kashmiri cayenne chili powder (if not available, mix ½ teaspoon regular chili powder with 1 teaspoon paprika)
Boiling water

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and trim away any fat. With a pointed knife, poke 4 to 5 holes in each chicken thigh; set aside.

Heat mustard oil over medium heat in a skillet or saucepan. When oil is hot, add cloves, peppercorn, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, then reduce heat. Add fennel powder, ginger, turmeric, salt and chili powder, and stir for 2 minutes.

Add enough boiling water to the mixture to fill the pan 1 inch deep. Stir and raise heat back to medium to bring the mixture to a boil. Place chicken in the pan and cook for two minutes. Turn the chicken over, then add broccoli to the pan with the chicken. Reduce the heat and cover with a tight lid. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, then stir so that the broccoli is immersed in the liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes on low heat.

Nutrition information (per serving): 177 calories, 9 grams total fat (2 grams saturated fat, 5 grams monounsaturated fat, 2 grams polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams trans fat), 69 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 496 mg potassium, 8 grams total carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar (0 grams added sugar), 16 grams protein

Recipe contributed by Sanjiv Kaul, M.D.
OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute

Fitness trackers: a partner in your everyday health

In general, fitness trackers like Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone and smartphone applications are a way to realize and manage your true activities throughout the day. Some offer heart rate monitoring, which shows you how hard your body is working during different kinds of exercises. Fitness trackers can also help you track progression as you exercise: For example, if your goal is to increase how far you walk every day, or how much faster you are running as you train for a race, you can evaluate your progress from the data that the device provides.

If you’re using a fitness tracker with weight loss in mind, however, be mindful that many of them will overestimate the amount of calories burned. Also, while it’s a great thing to have all this information, don’t let it dictate your workout all the time, either: Exercise should be enjoyable, and if you find you are getting too deep into the data, or it’s not fun or is causing you to not exercise anymore, then consider taking a break from the device.

The nice thing about fitness trackers is that they don’t have to be expensive. Even something as simple as a $2 pedometer that you attach to your shoe can provide a surprising amount of data about how many steps we really take per day.

The positive data behind exercise is astonishing: It can boost mental health as well as prevent diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Sean Robinson, M.D.

OHSU Family Medicine

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Past Editions of Health

  • Summer 2016
  • Spring 2016
  • Winter 2016
  • Fall 2015
  • Fine Print

    Health is a quarterly publication of OHSU serving the greater Portland area. Information is intended to educate and is not a substitute for consulting with a health care provider.

    Got questions or suggestions? We’d love to hear your feedback: Email us.

    If you would like to opt out of receiving the printed version of Health you can do so here.

    Editor-in-chief: Heather Pease
    Managing editor: Ashley Uchtman
    Copywriter: Carin Moonin
    Graphic designer: Megan Pugmire