The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) has awarded Duke Anesthesiology CA-3 resident, Michael Devinney, MD, PhD, a Research Fellowship Grant for his project, titled “The Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation.” This grant provides $75,000 in funding for his research over one year.
Up to 40 percent of older adults who undergo surgery will develop a syndrome of postoperative thinking and memory deficits, known as postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). Strategies to prevent POCD are limited due to a poor understanding of its risk factors. One potential risk factor is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a highly-prevalent and frequently undiagnosed disorder in older adults that is associated with increased peripheral inflammation and long-term cognitive impairment.
Devinney’s study will determine the extent to which OSA is associated with POCD (as measured by change in global cognition from before to after surgery) and cerebrospinal fluid markers of inflammation. The data is expected to uncover potential mechanisms through which OSA impacts cognition, and to inform strategies to prevent both POCD and cognitive decline in OSA patients, even outside of perioperative care.
“I am incredibly excited for this opportunity to carry out this project and develop my skills as an anesthesiologist-scientist,” says Devinney. “I owe a lot of thanks to Dr. Joseph Mathew [chairman] and Dr. Miles Berger for their mentorship and guidance, and to the anesthesiology department, residency program, and ACES program for support throughout my research endeavors. I’d also like to thank our collaborators: Dr. Andrew Spector (Neurology-Sleep Medicine), Dr. Jeff Browndyke (Psychiatry), Dr. Patrick Smith (Psychiatry), along with the Department of Biostatistics, the Anesthesiology Clinical Research Unit and the budget office for their contributions to the proposal. I look forward to working with everyone involved with this project.”
FAER is a charitable arm of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology.