UW News

November 25, 1997

Health Source: Medical News from the University of Washington

A NEW ADVANCE IN ANESTHESIA MONITORING will help ensure that patients receive the correct amount of anesthetic during surgery. The Bispectral Index, now used at University of Washington Medical Center, offers the first direct method of measuring the effects of anesthetic and sedative agents on the brain, using an enhanced EEG (electroencephalogram) monitor. The system will help allay patient fears about inadequate anesthesia and reduce costs by allowing anesthesiologists to administer the exact amount of anesthetic agent needed. “This is a significant advance in the history of anesthesia – being able to accurately measure the depth of sedation by direct, noninvasive means,” said Dr. Andrew Bowdle, associate professor of anesthesiology. UWMC is the first hospital in the nation to install the system in all of its operating rooms.
NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR SURGICAL SIMULATORS is being developed at the University of Washington. By precisely measuring the forces involved in surgery, researchers will be able to develop virtual reality training simulators that allow students to get a realistic “feel” for performing a surgery procedure. “The advanced surgical simulators have the potential to drastically reduce the time and cost involved in training surgeons and to improve performance,” said Dr. Mika Sinanan, associate professor of surgery who is co-directing the project with UW engineer Blake Hannaford.

RESEARCHERS HIT THE ROAD TO STUDY OSTEOPOROSIS. Collaborating with local and regional health-care facilities, University of Washington researchers are expanding a rural network for study of women with osteoporosis. A research team, traveling in a specially equipped bus, is gathering results from approximately 900 women throughout Wyoming, Montana and North and South Dakota. Dr. Charles Chesnut, professor of radiology and medicine, explains the network is a base for a clinical trial of a new pharmaceutical treatment.

TO ADVANCE A NEW RESEARCH DISCIPLINE combining human genetics and pathology, the University of Washington School of Medicine is establishing a Center for Molecular Genetic Pathology. While the disciplines of human genetics and pathology have traditionally been pursued separately, there is increasing evidence of the genetic basis of many diseases. “We need to advance our understanding of how gene alterations cause disease,” said Dr. Nelson Fausto, chair of pathology.

DETERMINING POSSIBLE CAUSES OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) is the goal of a women’s health study being conducted at the University of Washington. To gather information, researchers are asking volunteers with IBS to provide information about their own health symptoms. Study participants keep a health diary, receive nervous system testing, and record their daily diet. Approximately 10 percent of adults are affected by IBS, and it is more often diagnosed in women.