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FOR the past 12 years, Anesthesiology has organized and sponsored a Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, based on a topic of contemporary interest identified by our Editorial Board. Each Symposium includes 10–20 poster/abstracts specially selected by the organizing Editors from among those submitted to the Annual Meeting. We also invite a number of speakers to review their work in the selected field and to participate in the discussions of the posters.

Both the Editorial Board and I have long believed that these sessions represent some of the best science that our specialty has to offer and certainly involve some of the best work presented at each year’s meeting. Repeatedly, interested parties have said, “You should publish this material in the Journal,” and this year we’ve decided to do just that. The October 2003 Symposium, entitled Preconditioning against Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury , was organized and moderated by Zeljko J. Bosjnak, Ph.D., and David C. Warltier, M.D., Ph.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Speakers included David C. Warltier, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; Garrett J. Gross, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Medical College of Wisconsin; Stefan De Hert, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology, University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium; and Michael Zaugg, M.D., Head, Cardiovascular Anesthesia Laboratory, Institute of Anesthesiology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

There were over 20 excellent posters. Before the meeting, all of the authors whose work was selected for the Symposium were asked to submit a formal manuscript describing their work. These manuscripts then underwent a full, but expedited, peer review process. The end result are the 15 articles that appear in the Special Section of this month’s Journal—a series that truly represents some of the most sophisticated and up-to-date work being done currently in the field of preconditioning. Most (but not all) of the articles are derived from laboratory studies involving both the heart and brain, but my bet is that most anesthesiologists will have no difficulties grasping the implications of the work. To help in that process, the issue also contains a Review Article coauthored by Dr. David Warltier, updating our current understanding of the role of anesthesia and anesthetics on preconditioning in the heart.

The Journal’s Web site ( offers the Symposium information in another format. All of the invited speakers agreed to being recorded, and they provided us with their slides. The result is four PowerPoint presentations with audio tracks of the same material presented to the actual Symposium attendees.

We hope that this will be only the first in a series of annual “special issues” derived from the Symposium. The topic for 2004, “Pharmacogenomics and Anesthesia: Determinants of Individual Response and Outcome ,” is being organized by Drs. Evan Kharasch (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington) and Margaret Wood (Columbia, University, New York, New York). Pharmacogenomics is the application of genomic concepts and technologies to the study of drug action, drug targets, pharmacokinetics, and therapeutic response. Pharmacogenomics is a subject of intense interest. Understanding the genetic factors responsible for interindividual variability in drug response and drug toxicity promises a future in which drug selection and dosing may become individualized. If you are an author working in this area, please make sure to submit your work to the Annual Meeting, and remember to check the box on the submission form indicating that you would like your work considered for the Symposium. We hope to see your paper here next March.