Anesthesiology launches collaboration with hospital in Ghana

The Department of Anesthesiology has established a partnership with a hospital in Ghana to help improve medical care in that African nation while providing training opportunities for residents and fellows. Pictured is Ellen Lockhart, MD, of the School of Medicine, alongside Divine Kwami, MD, a faculty member at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana.

NIH award funds research into tiny devices that shine light on brain disorders

To better understand and one day provide improved treatments for depression, addiction and anxiety, School of Medicine researchers are using tiny, electronic devices to identify and map neural circuits in the brain. The work has been awarded a rare grant called EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration), which provides funding for high-risk/high-reward projects.

Scientists unravel mechanisms in chronic itching

New research at the School of Medicine shows that chronic itching, which can occur in many medical conditions, is different from the urge to scratch a mosquito bite. Chronic itching appears to incorporate more than just the nerve cells that normally transmit itch signals. In the image shown, researchers identified elevated signaling (in red) in nerve cells involved in both itch and in pain.

Propofol discovery may aid development of new anesthetics

Researchers at the School of Medicine and Imperial College London are the first to identify the site where the widely used anesthetic drug propofol binds to receptors in the brain to sedate patients during surgery. Shown is a photoanalogue of propofol to identify where it binds to receptors. The small green circles show the site.

Tiny wireless device shines light on mouse brain, generating reward

Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure. This LED light can activate brain cells and may lead to the mapping of circuits involved in sleep, depression and addiction.

Moving cells with light holds medical promise

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown they can coax cells to move toward a beam of light. The feat is a first step toward manipulating cells to control insulin secretion or heart rate using light.

Nagele receives anesthesiology’s Presidential Scholar Award

Peter Nagele, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology, has received the 2012 Presidential Scholar Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. The award, presented Oct. 15 at the society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., is given each year to an anesthesiologist who has dedicated the formative years of his/her career to research.

Unusual protein helps regulate key cell communication pathway

Charged atoms, or ions, move through tiny pores, or channels, embedded in cell membranes, generating the electrical signals that allow cells to communicate with one another. In new research, scientists have shown how an unusual protein plays a key role in temporarily blocking the movement of ions through these channels. Preventing ions from moving through the channel gives cells time to recharge so that they can continue firing.

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.