December Anesthesiology features Washington University department

For the first time, Anesthesiology, the premier journal in the field of anesthesiology, focuses entirely on the physicians, scientists and research conducted in a single, U.S. institution. The December issue of the journal features the work of the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The only other time the journal has concentrated an entire issue on a single institution was last year when it highlighted the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

In review articles, editorials, case studies and research reports, the journal highlights the research and clinical advances of Washington University scientists.

“We chose Washington University because of the outstanding academic leadership it has provided to our specialty and to medicine,” says James C. Eisenach, MD, editor-in-chief of Anesthesiology and a professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “Scientific advances must be translated into the clinic to affect our patients, and Washington University’s anesthesiology department does just that.”

The journal features more than two dozen articles from Washington University faculty. The reports cover everything from the use of clinical simulators in educating medical students and predictors of heart attack risk during surgery to the mechanisms through which nerve cells interact with steroid drugs, as well as the management of chronic pain and the treatment of sepsis, among other topics.

“Our investigators have long been leaders in the molecular and cellular basis of anesthesia, and it’s gratifying to see them recognized this way,” says Alex S. Evers, MD, the Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the anesthesiology department.

Among those to have his work highlighted is Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and chief of basic research at Washington University’s Pain Center. His team has two papers in this issue of the journal.

“They are like the ‘bookends’ of the translational research that we do,” Gereau says. “One is very early work, exploring ways that a substance called protein kinase C might be involved in pain. The other paper follows years of work with a receptor called the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5. We’ve shown in mice that a drug called fenobam can block that receptor and relieve pain, and we hope to test the drug’s analgesic effects in patients soon.”

Long known for having one of the largest basic research units among U.S. anesthesia departments, Evers says he is grateful the journal also has recognized the department for its clinical and translational research in the areas of critical care, pain management and operative anesthesia.

Anesthesiology vol. 115 (6), Dec. 2011

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.