International Anesthesia Research Society
The Daily dose April 2023
An Interview with Abstract Presenter and SmartTots Investigator – Oliver Isik
Behavioral and neuropsychological outcomes in children after exposure to labor epidural analgesia
Category: Obstetric Anesthesiology
Poster #: 60
Poster Session G: Saturday, April 15, 2023, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm MT, Centennial A-D, The Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
In anesthesiology, Oliver Isik, ScM, discovered a specialty that combined both of his passions: procedural medicine and intensive care, providing acute critical care to perioperative patients. He was particularly drawn to the impact of anesthetic medications and how they might have an immediate and long-term effect on the brain. Now a medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Oliver has focused his lens more acutely on pediatric anesthesia and evaluating long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of anesthetics on children. He hopes his current investigation will be able to clarify the relationship between labor epidural analgesia and child neurodevelopment and will present the findings during a poster presentation on April 15 at the IARS 2023 Annual Meeting. Below, he reflects on the hopes of their research team and how this research might help to formulate a more complete understanding surrounding the safety of a common anesthetic procedure.
1. For this research, you are…
Medical Student Researcher
2. What drew you to the anesthesiology specialty?
Since joining the medical field as an emergency medical technician almost a decade ago, my interests in medicine have been two-fold: procedural medicine and intensive care. Anesthesiology naturally blends both these passions, providing acute critical care to perioperative patients.
3. What drew you to this area of research?
Medications, particularly anesthetic medications, may have immediate and long-term impacts on the brain. In the realm of pediatric anesthesia, evaluating long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes becomes even more important, since patients’ brains are still developing. Observational studies offer particularly valuable insight into the epidemiology of neuropsychological impacts of anesthesia.
4. What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work with this research project (or projects)?
Epidural analgesia has become a mainstay of maternal support in labor and delivery. Recent studies, however, have raised concerns about its long-term developmental impacts. Given the inconsistent results of prior studies on this subject and the high stakes of the concern, there is clearly need for further investigation. We sought to address this question using a birth cohort that allowed us to control for confounding effects and best clarify the association between epidural analgesia and a variety of neurodevelopmental domains in children.
5. What is the potential impact of your research on the field of anesthesia and patient care?
This work will further clarify the relationship between labor epidural analgesia and child neurodevelopment. Either the results will hone in on the specific developmental domain affected by the local anesthetic and guide future research, or they will add reassurance that the benefits of labor epidural analgesia outweigh the raised concerns. Our ultimate hope for this research is to formulate a more complete understanding surrounding the safety of a common anesthetic procedure.
6. What are the benefits of presenting your research during poster sessions at the IARS Annual Meeting?
Academic conferences offer unique opportunities to share and discuss research. Dialogue surrounding the subject, methodology and results of a research project often leads to refinements of a study or to ideas about potential future pursuits.
7. Outside of your research, what might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I originally wanted to become an astrophysicist. After a year, I discovered that I preferred clinical care as an EMT and changed tacks entirely.
8. Is there anyone else you wish to acknowledge as part of this research team?
Dr. Shaqif Junaid, Deven Lackraj and Ling Guo were instrumental in designing the study and helping to analyze the data. Drs. Ruth Landau, Craig Pennell, Britta von Ungern Sternberg and Andrew Whitehouse provided clinical expertise in contextualizing the study, and Drs. Caleb Miles and Guohua Li provided constant guidance on epidemiology and biostatistics. Most of all, I would like to acknowledge my mentor and the principal investigator for this study, Dr. Caleb Ing, for his guidance and support.