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Our obstetric anesthesia group is interested in a variety of topics including the efficacy and mechanism of action of spinal and epidural opioids for production of analgesia during labor, and the functionality of epidural analgesia for labor pain relief. Recently, techniques have been directed at providing excellent analgesia with no or minimal motor blockade or side effects. We have performed clinical and volunteer studies to examine the effects of spinal sufentanil (a short-acting synthetic opioid) given to relieve labor pain, and the potential benefits of "walking epidurals" - a technique for epidural analgesia using such dilute solutions of local anesthetics combined with opioids that patients are able to ambulate.