Methadone’s side effects, efficacy may be linked to genetic makeup​

Methadone — long used to treat pain and addiction — can be lethal if it lingers too long in the body. New research led by the School of Medicine’s Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD, has identified genetic subtypes in people that govern methadone clearance, findings that could help prevent some of the 5,000 methadone-related deaths that occur each year in the United States.

Kharasch named editor-in-chief of journal Anesthesiology

The American Society of Anesthesiologists has named Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD, of the School of Medicine, the new editor-in-chief of the journal Anesthesiology. Kharasch will assume the role of editor-in-chief-elect on Jan. 1, 2016, and then officially take on full editorial responsibility July 1.

New pharmacy, medical school partnership seeks better, safer medications​

St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are joining forces to find better, safer and more effective ways to use prescription medications to improve health. Researchers from the two institutions are collaborating to create the Center for Clinical Pharmacology. The center’s director will be Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD, the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology and professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine.

Reward, aversion behaviors activated through same brain pathways​​

New research may help explain why drug treatments for addiction and depression don’t work for some patients. The conditions are linked to reward and aversion responses in the brain. And the research suggests that some treatments simultaneously stimulate reward and aversion responses, resulting in a net zero effect.

Exploring the brain’s role in stress-induced anxiety​​​

Calming a neural circuit in the brain can alleviate stress in mice, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that lays the foundation for understanding stress and anxiety in people. The researchers also showed they could shine a light into the brain to activate the stress response in mice that had not been exposed to stressful situations.

Kidney cancer detected early with urine test

Finding kidney cancer early has been among the disease’s greatest challenges. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a noninvasive method to screen for kidney cancer that involves measuring the presence of proteins in the urine.

Laughing gas studied as depression treatment

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, has shown early promise as a treatment for severe depression in patients whose symptoms don’t respond to standard therapies, according to a small pilot study led by (from left) psychiatrists Charles R. Conway, MD, and Charles F. Zorumski, MD, and anesthesiologist Peter Nagele, MD, at the School of Medicine.

Bruchas, Gereau receive DECODE grant

Anesthesiology researchers Robert Gereau, PhD, (left) and Michael Bruchas, PhD, (right) have received one of only 11 DECODE (Deciphering Circuit Basis of Disease) grants to be awarded. The awards were announced at a ceremony featuring Thomas Insel, MD, (center) director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Why scratching makes you itch more

Turns out your mom was right: scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at the Center for the Study of Itch at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reveals that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation.

Gereau named Brown professor of anesthesiology

Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, has been named the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology at the School of Medicine. He studies the molecular mechanisms involved in pain sensation, and his research includes optogenetics, which uses light signals to activate or deactivate nerve cells responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.
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