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Nicholas C. Bambakidis, John Butler, Eric M. Horn, Xukui Wang, Mark C. Preul, Nicholas Theodore, Robert F. Spetzler and Volker K. H. Sonntag

✓ The development of an acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) inevitably leads to a complex cascade of ischemia and inflammation that results in significant scar tissue formation. The development of such scar tissue provides a severe impediment to neural regeneration and healing with restoration of function. A multimodal approach to treatment is required because SCIs occur with differing levels of severity and over different lengths of time. To achieve significant breakthroughs in outcomes, such approaches must combine both neuroprotective and neuroregenerative treatments. Novel techniques modulating endogenous stem cells demonstrate great promise in promoting neuroregeneration and restoring function.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Leonardo B. C. Brasiliense, Ryan K. Workman, Melanie C. Talley, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Nicholas Theodore, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

✓In 25 years, the Mongolian army of Genghis Khan conquered more of the known world than the Roman Empire accomplished in 400 years of conquest. The recent revised view is that Genghis Khan and his descendants brought about “pax Mongolica” by securing trade routes across Eurasia. After the initial shock of destruction by an unknown barbaric tribe, almost every country conquered by the Mongols was transformed by a rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and advances in civilization. Medicine, including techniques related to surgery and neurological surgery, became one of the many areas of life and culture that the Mongolian Empire influenced.

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Cassius V. C. Reis, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Joseph M. Zabramski, Sebastião N. S. Gusmão, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

✓ Almost 50 years of research on moyamoya disease (1957–2006) has led to the development of a variety of surgical and medical options for its management in affected patients. Some of these options have been abandoned, others have served as the basis for the development of better procedures, and many are still in use today. Investigators studying moyamoya disease during this period have concluded that the best treatment is planned after studying each patient's presenting symptoms and angiographic pattern.

The surgical procedures proposed for the treatment of moyamoya disease can be classified into three categories: direct arterial bypasses, indirect arterial bypasses, and other methods. Direct bypass methods that have been proposed are vein grafts and extracranial–intracranial anastomosis (superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery [STA–MCA] anastomosis and occipital artery–MCA anastomosis). Indirect techniques that have been proposed are the following: 1) encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis; 2) encephalomyosynangiosis; 3) encephalomyoarteriosynangiosis; 4) multiple cranial bur holes; and 5) transplantation of omentum. Other options such as cervical carotid sympathectomy and superior cervical ganglionectomy have also been proposed. In this paper the authors describe the history of the development of surgical techniques for treating moyamoya disease.

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Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow: pathologist, physician, anthropologist, and politician

Implications of his work for the understanding of cerebrovascular pathology and stroke

Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Cassius Reis, Melanie C. Talley, Nicholas Theodore, Peter Nakaji, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

✓ The history of apoplexy and descriptions of stroke symptoms date back to ancient times. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century, however, that the contributions of Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow, including his descriptions of the phenomena he called “embolism” and “thrombosis” as well as the origins of ischemia, changed the understanding of stroke. He suggested three main factors that conduce to venous thrombosis, which are now known as the Virchow triad. He also showed that portions of what he called a “thrombus” could detach and form an “embolus.” Thus, Virchow coined these terms to describe the pathogenesis of the disorder. It was also not until 1863 that Virchow recognized and differentiated almost all of the common types of intracranial malformations: telangiectatic venous malformations, arterial malformations, arteriovenous malformations, cystic angiomas (possibly what are now called hemangioblastomas), and transitional types of these lesions. This article is a review of the contributions of Rudolf Virchow to the current understanding of cerebrovascular pathology, and a summary of the life of this extraordinary personality in his many roles as physician, pathologist, anthropologist, ethnologist, and politician.

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Nicholas C. Bambakidis, Nicholas Theodore, Peter Nakaji, Adrian Harvey, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Mark C. Preul and Robert H. Miller

The continuous regeneration of glial cells arising from endogenous stem cell populations in the central nervous system (CNS) occurs throughout life in mammals. In the ongoing research to apply stem cell therapy to neurological diseases, the capacity to harness the multipotential ability of endogenous stem cell populations has become apparent. Such cell populations proliferate in response to a variety of injury states in the CNS, but in the absence of a supportive microenvironment they contribute little to any significant behavioral recovery. In the authors' laboratory and elsewhere, recent research on the regenerative potential of these stem cells in disease states such as spinal cord injury has demonstrated that the cells' proliferative potential may be greatly upregulated in response to appropriate growth signals and exogenously applied trophic factors. Further understanding of the potential of such multipotent cells and the mechanisms responsible for creating a favorable microenvironment for them may lead to additional therapeutic alternatives in the setting of neurological diseases. These therapies would require no exogenous stem cell sources and thus would avoid the ethical and moral considerations regarding their use. In this review the authors provide a brief overview of the enhancement of endogenous stem cell proliferation following neurological insult.

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Mark C. Preul