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Evgenii Belykh, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Kaan Yagmurlu, Rami O. Almefty, Hai Sun, Kaith K. Almefty, Olga Belykh, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Microvascular anastomosis is a basic neurosurgical technique that should be mastered in the laboratory. Human and bovine placentas have been proposed as convenient surgical practice models; however, the histologic characteristics of these tissues have not been compared with human cerebral vessels, and the models have not been validated as simulation training models. In this study, the authors assessed the construct, face, and content validities of microvascular bypass simulation models that used human and bovine placental vessels.

METHODS

The characteristics of vessel segments from 30 human and 10 bovine placentas were assessed anatomically and histologically. Microvascular bypasses were performed on the placenta models according to a delineated training module by “trained” participants (10 practicing neurosurgeons and 7 residents with microsurgical experience) and “untrained” participants (10 medical students and 3 residents without experience). Anastomosis performance and impressions of the model were assessed using the Northwestern Objective Microanastomosis Assessment Tool (NOMAT) scale and a posttraining survey.

RESULTS

Human placental arteries were found to approximate the M2–M4 cerebral and superficial temporal arteries, and bovine placental veins were found to approximate the internal carotid and radial arteries. The mean NOMAT performance score was 37.2 ± 7.0 in the untrained group versus 62.7 ± 6.1 in the trained group (p < 0.01; construct validity). A 50% probability of allocation to either group corresponded to 50 NOMAT points. In the posttraining survey, 16 of 17 of the trained participants (94%) scored the model's replication of real bypass surgery as high, and 16 of 17 (94%) scored the difficulty as “the same” (face validity). All participants, 30 of 30 (100%), answered positively to questions regarding the ability of the model to improve microsurgical technique (content validity).

CONCLUSIONS

Human placental arteries and bovine placental veins are convenient, anatomically relevant, and beneficial models for microneurosurgical training. Microanastomosis simulation using these models has high face, content, and construct validities. A NOMAT score of more than 50 indicated successful performance of the microanastomosis tasks.

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Ting Lei, Evgenii Belykh, Alexander B. Dru, Kaan Yagmurlu, Ali M. Elhadi, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

Chen Jingrun (1933–1996), perhaps the most prodigious mathematician of his time, focused on the field of analytical number theory. His work on Waring's problem, Legendre's conjecture, and Goldbach's conjecture led to progress in analytical number theory in the form of “Chen's Theorem,” which he published in 1966 and 1973. His early life was ravaged by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. On the verge of solving Goldbach's conjecture in 1984, Chen was struck by a bicyclist while also bicycling and suffered severe brain trauma. During his hospitalization, he was also found to have Parkinson's disease. Chen suffered another serious brain concussion after a fall only a few months after recovering from the bicycle crash. With significant deficits, he remained hospitalized for several years without making progress while receiving modern Western medical therapies. In 1988 traditional Chinese medicine experts were called in to assist with his treatment. After a year of acupuncture and oxygen therapy, Chen could control his basic bowel and bladder functions, he could walk slowly, and his swallowing and speech improved. When Chen was unable to produce complex work or finish his final work on Goldbach's conjecture, his mathematical pursuits were taken up vigorously by his dedicated students. He was able to publish Youth Math, a mathematics book that became an inspiration in Chinese education. Although he died in 1996 at the age of 63 after surviving brutal political repression, being deprived of neurological function at the very peak of his genius, and having to be supported by his wife, Chen ironically became a symbol of dedication, perseverance, and motivation to his students and associates, to Chinese youth, to a nation, and to mathematicians and scientists worldwide.

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Evgenii Belykh, Kashif Malik, Isabelle Simoneau, Kaan Yagmurlu, Ting Lei, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Nicholas Theodore and Mark C. Preul

André Feil (1884–1955) was a French physician best recognized for his description, coauthored with Maurice Klippel, of patients with congenital fusion of cervical vertebrae, a condition currently known as Klippel-Feil syndrome. However, little is known about his background aside from the fact that he was a student of Klippel and a physician who took a keen interest in describing congenital anomalies. Despite the relative lack of information on Feil, his contributions to the fields of spinal disease and teratology extended far beyond science to play an integral role in changing the misguided perception shrouding patients with disfigurements, defects, deformities, and so-called monstrous births. In particular, Feil's 1919 medical school thesis on cervical abnormalities was a critical publication in defying long-held theory and opinion that human “monstrosities,” anomalies, developmental abnormalities, and altered congenital physicality were a consequence of sinful behavior or a reversion to a primitive state. Indeed, his thesis on a spinal deformity centering on his patient, L. Joseph, was at the vanguard for a new view of a patient as nothing less than fully human, no matter his or her physicality or appearance.