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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Disruption — and why it’s important

As a nation, we face no more compelling issue than our health care system. We cannot afford to keep up the status quo. Health care is too expensive, not effective enough and does not deliver the value we deserve.

But let’s face it: Innovation is messy. It’s disruptive. But that kind of disruption is powerful—and necessary. We need new methods of educating providers, new research discoveries and new ways to deliver care.

Understandably, change is hard. But OHSU was born of disruption. In 1877, faculty from Willamette’s medical school bolted to Portland. They were in search of something better. That’s how OHSU was formed.

At OHSU, we have one purpose, given by the state of Oregon: Improve the health and well-being of our citizens. We are focused on that each and every day. That is the very essence of what we do—through education, through research, through patient care—and across all 96,000 square miles of the state.

For example, OHSU is on a path to curing cancer. We’re on a path to curing AIDS. We’re on the path to creating an artificial heart. Why not set our sights on curing the health care system itself? We can make a huge impact on our state and an impact that will be noticed nationally.

Perhaps you’re skeptical. But we have a rich history of innovation in Oregon, from mass transit to the bottle bill to the initial Oregon Health Plan. And today, with health care transformation, Oregon is further along in population health than most states.

When we are open to the power of innovation and disruption, the opportunities for making a positive impact are boundless.

Learn more about OHSU’s strategic direction.

Research News

Lead exposure and ADHD: Is there a link?

Lead exposure is a common health threat: Small amounts can be found in children’s toys, costume jewelry, water from aging pipes and contaminated soil and dust. Scientists at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have defined the first causal link between blood lead exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers evaluated lead blood levels in 386 healthy children aged 6 to 17. Half had been diagnosed with ADHD previously. Their analysis showed a heightened link between lead exposure and ADHD symptoms—particularly hyperactivity-impulsivity—in those with the HFE C282Y gene mutation, which is present in approximately 10 percent of U.S. children. Children without this gene mutation showed heightened symptoms as lead exposure increased, but not as consistently.

This research was published in Psychological Science and is a collaboration among researchers at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Michigan State University and the University of Iowa.

Learn more about OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Finding the genes that cause puberty

The brain controls the onset of sexual development, or when puberty begins. For the first time, researchers at OHSU and the University of Pittsburgh have identified the genes that regulate the timing of puberty in nonhuman primates. This gene family is called the Zinc finger, or ZNF, and it comprises approximately 800 individual genes.

ZNF genes help “put the brakes” on puberty development by containing repressors—proteins that hold back genetic activity to suppress puberty. They do this by bringing the gene’s information from the environment without changing the genetic code.

This information better positions scientists to learn whether environmental factors are helping to lower the age at which puberty starts. Early puberty is associated with an increased incidence of ovarian, uterine and breast cancer as well as an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and metabolic diseases.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.

If you’ve got a question about hormone concerns, the Endocrinology Clinic at OHSU provides treatment for patients with hormonal issues, such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, pituitary tumors, osteoporosis, adrenal insufficiency and glandular tumors.

Possible new development to treat chronic pain

Millions of people dealing with chronic pain experience pain signals that fire in the nervous system for weeks, months or even years.

A class of chemical compounds called adenosine analogs is under development as a potential therapy for treating chronic neuropathic pain and other diseases. These compounds were found to act on how the body experiences pleasure. This information will be used to help develop possible treatments for this widespread disease. 

The research was led by Aaron Janowsky, Ph.D., director of the Methamphetamine Abuse Research Center and professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine, and published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

If chronic pain is affecting your life, OHSU can help. Our Comprehensive Pain Center provides a wide range of pain treatments for people with acute pain, chronic pain and pain from cancer.

Upcoming Events

Register today for these exciting opportunities to learn more from area experts about a wide range of health conditions that can affect you and your family.

Walk with us

March for Babies
Sign up for the March of Dimes March for Babies 3k family walk or 10k walk, and support programs and research to prevent premature birth, birth defects and other serious problems.
April 30, 9 a.m.
Rose Quarter Commons 1 N. Center Court St. Portland, OR

2016 Greater Portland Heart & Stroke Walk
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Portland International Raceway
Join Team OHSU at this year’s Heart & Stroke Walk.

Marquam Hill Lectures

Since 1981, the Marquam Hill Lecture Series has brought together leading members of the OHSU faculty with the public for free lectures about the biomedical research and clinical advances that will form the basis of tomorrow’s cures and treatments.

Transforming Cancer Care With Next-generation Sequencing
Thursday, May 19, 2016
7:00 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
Christopher Corless, M.D., Ph.D.

OHSU War on Skin Cancer Event
Put some skin in the game. Get screened, walk and participate in research at our War on Skin Cancer event!
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Collaborative Life Sciences Building

National Cancer Survivors Day Celebration
Cancer survivors of all ages and their friends, families and health care providers are invited to Portland’s Survivors Day Celebration. This free event includes light refreshments, kid-friendly activities, door prizes, community resource booths and more.

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Montgomery Park Atrium

Ask the Health Experts Seminars
Join us for informative talks about some of today’s top health concerns. Learn the latest developments in treatment, prevention and detection from the leading professionals in the field. Light refreshments will be served.

What Are Common Problems With the Upper Extremity?
Adam Mirarchi, M.D.
Wednesday, May 4, 7 p.m.
The upper extremity, from your shoulder to your hand, can be the source of many medical complaints. Learn about common causes of upper extremity problems, such as arthritis, rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome—and what can be done to help.

Menopause 101: Back to Basics on Symptoms, Treatment Options and Sex
Karen Adams, M.D.
Wednesday, May 11, 7 p.m.
Learn what really happens to women’s bodies during the transition of menopause and get the latest on treatment options. Plus: a bonus presentation on making midlife sex fun again.

Can Heart Disease Be Prevented Naturally?
Tracy Severson, R.D., L.D.
Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m.
Heart disease is one of the most common problems in America. Learn how you can prevent or even treat it using food and other natural remedies.

Neck Pain and Beyond
Jason Chang, M.D.
Wednesday, May 25, 7 p.m.
Got neck pain? Understand the anatomy of your cervical spine (neck area) and learn about any age-related changes that may be causing it, when surgery might be necessary, and the latest surgical approaches.

Living With Migraine: It’s Not All in Your Head
Juliette Preston, M.D.
Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m.
How does a migraine differ from a headache? Learn more about how they are diagnosed and hear about causes and the latest treatment. 

What Is Ankle Arthritis?
James Meeker, M.D.
Wednesday, June 22, 7 p.m.
Has ankle arthritis got you rankled? You don’t have to live in constant pain: Find out about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.

Integrating Natural Products With Chemotherapy
Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 p.m.
Joseph Bubalo, Pharm.D.
Can you bring together natural therapies and cancer care? And what’s the best way to do that? Learn about natural products and what’s safe to use with chemotherapy.

Complementary Approaches to High Cholesterol
Tuesday, August 9, 6:30 p.m.
Sergio Fazio, M.D., Ph.D.
If you have high cholesterol, there’s a lot that can be done. Learn about healthier habits, the dietary approaches to lowering cholesterol, and the supplements that do and don’t help.

Baby Talk

Considering fertility treatment? Want to learn about what options are best for you? OHSU offers a full range of fertility services. Join us for a free information session and meet briefly with a fertility expert, get to know our staff, learn about financial options and get your questions answered.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
Financial sessions at 5 or 6 p.m.
Meet with fertility experts 5:30–7 p.m.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Financial sessions at 5 or 6 p.m.
Meet with fertility experts 5:30–7 p.m.

Past Issues

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.

Running tips

Spring has arrived, and that means that training season is here. As the weather warms up, going for a run or training for a 5K, 10K, or a half or full marathon might sound like fun. That’s great — just remember some basic running tips:

  1. Set a goal. It may be easier to focus on your end goal, rather than on a day-to-day approach.
  2. Join a running group or get a running partner and share training successes and challenges, and motivation.
  3. Get stronger. Healthy running means strength training. Especially in your glutes and core.
  4. Listen to your body. Pushing through pain is a common way to get injured.
  5. Do not increase your mileage by more than 10 percent a week. For instance, if you are used to running six miles a week, and your goal is to get to 12 miles a week, increase weekly miles by about 0.6 miles.
  6. Keep a training log. Collect information so you can maximize your performance.
  7. Take rest days. Make sure your training program has at least one rest day per week.
  8. Expect hard days. Do your best to safely finish your training on these days and don’t let yourself get dragged down.
  9. Get good shoes.
  10. Have fun! Remember this more than anything else. This is what running is all about.

To make an appointment at OHSU Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, please call 503 494-6400.

Spring cleaning? Look out for hidden poisons

Spring is a favorite season for many, but are there any hidden dangers to spring cleaning? In 2015, the Oregon Poison Center (OPC) answered about 3,800 calls regarding household cleaners and more than half (64 percent) of the calls were for children 5 years and under.

During spring cleaning, store cleaners where children cannot get to them. They can be harmful when they get into their eyes, get swallowed or when they get onto their sensitive skin.
Store cleaners in their original containers. This is especially important with industrial cleaners. Do not transfer cleaners such as pesticides to other containers such as old juice bottles. Children might think it’s juice, and get very sick.

The OPC’s nurses, pharmacists and doctors are ready to answer any calls about poisoning. The Oregon Poison Center can be reached by calling 800 222-1222 and is available 24/7.

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Past Editions of Health

  • Fall 2015
  • Spring 2016
  • 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: Ashley Uchtman
    Copywriter: Carin Moonin
    Graphic designer: David Riofrio