The Daily Dose • Thursday, May 27, 2021

Kosaka Clinical Research Award Winner: Keith M. Vogt, MD, PhD

Keith M. Vogt, MD, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, received the Kosaka Best Clinical Research Award for his research on “Whole-brain network connectivity changes with midazolam sedation during task performance and periodic pain: A functional MRI study in healthy young adults” during the Kosaka Best Abstract Award Session on May 16 at the IARS 2021 Annual Meeting. He reveals why he got interested in human cognition and the implications of his current study.

What is your professional title and institution? How long have you been there?  

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I have been here since I started my anesthesiology residency in 2012. For this study, I am the principal investigator.                                   

Do you conduct research by yourself or with a team? Is there anyone you wish to acknowledge? 

I conduct research as part of a team and want to acknowledge two individuals: C. Tyler Smith, MD, who worked on data analysis and my colleague James W. Ibinson, MD, PhD, who helped to execute the study and interpret the findings.

What drew you to this area of research?

I have been interested in human cognition for a long time, particularly the way anesthetics can modulate cognitive function. The intersection of painful stimulation with memory function while pharmacologic agents alter the level of consciousness is both intensely interesting and highly relevant to perioperative and periprocedural anesthesiology practice.

What is the goal of your research?

Overall, my research seeks to determine a robust neurosignature for anesthetic-induced amnesia and analgesia, including how these might interact during varying aversive experiences and under exposure to multiple anesthetic agents.

What’s the most significant finding?

We demonstrate that, under low-dose midazolam and during the periodic experience of pain, fMRI-based connectivity increases, particularly across functionally distinct networks. The distribution of increases in connectivity are bilateral with a posterior predominance.

Will your findings directly affect patient care?

Our findings do not suggest an immediate change in practice. However, there is a reasonable inference from our work that clinicians can keep in mind: During light sedation with midazolam, brain connectivity may be preserved or even increased, despite reduced or absent subsequent explicit memory.

How do you feel about receiving the Kosaka Best of Meeting Award? Do you think this award will affect your research/professional trajectory?

I am grateful to the IARS for the opportunity to present this work and certainly for the unexpected recognition and award — it will certainly help to publicize our work. Anyone who is interested in this research should read our recent publication in Anesthesiology. I welcome questions and feedback on our research.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your research and work over the past year?

We have endured approximately 6 months of shutdowns and considerable difficulty in filling much needed research staff positions during the pandemic. The cancellation of the 2020 IARS and AUA Annual Meetings has prevented us from presenting early findings from the study.

How has COVID-19 changed your learning/education needs? Do you see any changes becoming more permanent?

I don’t think there have been significant changes in my needs, but there certainly are more opportunities for remote CME, which is one small silver lining to this huge dark pandemic cloud. The virtual meeting was well done this year, but I think we are all more than ready to get back to the rich opportunities for discussion and networking that come with in-person interactions.

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