Department of Anesthesiology

James W. Ibinson, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Education & Training

  • The Ohio State University, BS, Chemical Engineering
  • The Ohio State University School of Medicine, MD
  • The Ohio State University, PhD, Biomedical Engineering
  • University of Pittsburgh Department of Anesthesiology, T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Representative Publications

​Dr. Ibinson's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research, clinical, and/or academic interests

Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) analyzes the co-variation of low frequency (< 0.1 Hz) oscillations in the MRI signal that signal communication between brain regions. These reflect spontaneous neuronal activity and are present at rest, thus allowing the study of chronic neurological states. Dr. Ibinson's lab is now applying fcMRI to two critical issues in anesthesiology: pain and post-operative cognitive dysfunction.

The primary members of Dr. Ibinson's lab include Principal Investigator Jim Ibinson, MD, PhD; Co-investigator Keith Vogt, MD, PhD; and Graduate Student Chris Becker, MA. Mentorship is provided by Howard Aizenstein MD, PhD (Department of Psychiatry and PI of the Geriatric Psychiatry Neuroimaging Lab); Brian Williams, MD; and Ajay Wasan, MD.

Using Functional Connectivity to Differentiate Between Pain and Resting States

In a 2011 report to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute of Medicine stated that “relieving pain should be a national priority,” estimating that over 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain with costs for medical treatment and lost productivity totaling up to $635 billion yearly. The Ibinson Lab believes that a critical step towards the development of effective treatments for both acute and chronic pain is the identification of a biomarker for pain and that fcMRI may be the ideal tool to identify such biomarkers, since pain perception is a psychological phenomenon.

Previously, they identified a connectivity pattern that differentiated an acutely painful state from the non-painful resting state and resulted in abstracts that were awarded “Best of Meeting” at the 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Annual Meeting and “Best of Category” at the 2014 IARS meeting, and the initial development was published in Brain Connectivity.  A second publication is pending that details the correlation between activity in these brain regions with pain level, bringing us closer to their goal of a biomarker. Over the past year, funding was obtained and experiments were conducted to extend this investigation to acute exacerbations of clinically-relevant low back pain. The collection of this data will finish during FY18, with publications to immediately follow.

Quantifying the Neural Correlates of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction and Investigating its Link to Pre-Clinical Alzheimer’s Disease

Post-operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD) is a poorly understood complication of surgery and/or anesthesia that results in significant morbidity, especially in the elderly.  Current evidence suggests that the rate of POCD one week post-surgery, regardless of procedure, in patients over the age of 65 ranges from 30-40%. Neither the mechanism nor the key cerebral substrates of POCD have been convincingly determined in humans. This lack of understanding hampers our ability to measure POCD’s effect on cognitive function, monitor its natural time course, and precisely quantify the effects of potential treatments. Interestingly, new research has exposed a potential link between POCD and pre-clinical underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Imaging studies focusing on anatomic changes have shown mixed results, suggesting that studies of brain function are needed to guide POCD research. The current objective of this work is to generate pilot data supporting the hypothesis that functional neuroimaging is able to detect the neural correlates of POCD and quantify the changes in brain function and/or morphology over time.

For this work, the Ibinson Lab will apply their pain fcMRI pipeline to images collected before and after anesthesia. Analysis of the imaging data will focus on using machine learning techniques to integrate clinical data, including age and neuropsychological exam scores with imaging measurements of brain volume, white matter hyperintensities, and fcMRI parameters. Their experience with the use of advanced anesthetic techniques to avoid general anesthesia and presumably reduce neuroinflammation will allow them to eventually test whether POCD improves as a result of avoiding pro-inflammatory inhalational anesthetics and routinely using anti-inflammatory medications such as systemic lidocaine. Competitive pilot funding for this investigation was obtained during the last year, and data collection has begun. The group's beginning investigation into this work also lead to Dr. Ibinson’s invitation to participate as a Visiting Professor in the University of Florida’s Chairman’s Lecture Series, as well as a lecture in the University of Pittsburgh’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center’s Topics at Noon series.