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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? The OHSU Brain Institute's 2016 Brain Awareness Season will delve into the brain science behind three very popular pastimes: alcohol, gaming, and marijuana.

All lectures take place at the Newmark Theatre, Portland and begin at 7 p.m.

February 22

The 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.

February 29

The 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.

March 7

Oregon 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.

For more information, please visit www.ohsubrain.com/bas

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