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Familial intracranial aneurysms

Andrés M. Lozano and Richard Leblanc

✓ The authors report seven individuals from two families, all of whom had aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. These cases and all reported cases of familial aneurysms (243 aneurysms in 177 patients from 74 families) were submitted to computer-aided multivariate analysis to determine if the aneurysms or the patients who harbor them differ from sporadic aneurysm cases. Familial aneurysms rupture at a smaller size (mean diameter 10.5 mm), and when the patient is younger (mean age 42.3 years and decennial age at peak incidence 40 to 49 years). There is a similar sex distribution (male to female ratio 48:52), a similar incidence of multiple aneurysms (21.5%), and a similar predominance of females over males with multiple aneurysms (2.2:1). Anterior communicating artery aneurysms occur less often in familial cases (19%) than in sporadic cases. In sibling pairs the aneurysms occur at the same or at mirror sites, and rupture within the same decade twice as frequently as randomly selected nonfamilial aneurysm patient pairs. The occurrence of aneurysms at identical and mirror sites is more frequent in familial cases and appears to be a function of the degree of kinship between affected individuals. These observations suggest a genetic basis for the pathogenesis of familial intracranial aneurysms.

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Introduction: Deep brain stimulation: current assessment, new applications, and future innovations

Kim Burchiel, Mark A. Liker, and Andres M. Lozano

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Introduction to Deep Brain Stimulation

Andres M. Lozano and Robert E. Gross

It is estimated that over 160,000 patients worldwide have received deep brain stimulation (DBS) to date predominantly for Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. With the success of this therapy, a greater appreciation of the clinical benefits and adverse effects is being realized. Neurosurgeons are increasingly paying attention to the technical details of these procedures and optimizing targeting, surgical techniques, and programming to improve outcomes.

In this issue, the nuances of surgical techniques for DBS are covered by Dr. House. Dr. Toda et al. and Mr. Chartrain et al. tackle the approach to treating tremors, either essential tremor or Holmes tremor, using either a single target or, in cases of difficult-to-treat tremors, using more than one target and interleaving the stimulation. These abstracts and videos will be appreciated by both those who are being initiated to DBS and the more seasoned practitioners who are looking for helpful hints to tackle challenging cases.

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The academic productivity and impact of the University of Toronto Neurosurgery Program as assessed by manuscripts published and their number of citations

Christopher S. Lozano, Joseph Tam, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, and Andres M. Lozano


Recent works have assessed academic output across neurosurgical programs using various analyses of accumulated citations as a proxy for academic activity and productivity. These assessments have emphasized North American neurosurgical training centers and have largely excluded centers outside the United States. Because of the long tradition and level of academic activity in neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, the authors sought to compare that program's publication and citation metrics with those of established programs in the US as documented in the literature. So as to not rely on historical achievements that may be of less relevance, they focused on recent works, that is, those published in the most recent complete 5-year period.


The authors sought to make their data comparable to existing published data from other programs. To this end, they compiled a list of published papers by neurosurgical faculty at the University of Toronto for the period from 2009 through 2013 using the Scopus database. Individual author names were disambiguated; the total numbers of papers and citations were compiled on a yearly basis. They computed a number of indices, including the ih(5)-index (i.e., the number of citations the papers received over a 5-year period), the summed h-index of the current faculty over time, and a number of secondary measures, including the ig(5), ie(5), and i10(5)-indices. They also determined the impact of individual authors in driving the results using Gini coefficients. To address the issue of author ambiguity, which can be problematic in multicenter bibliometric analyses, they have provided a source dataset used to determine the ih(5) index for the Toronto program.


The University of Toronto Neurosurgery Program had approximately 29 full-time surgically active faculty per year (not including nonneurosurgical faculty) in the 5-year period from 2009 to 2013. These faculty published a total of 1217 papers in these 5 years. The total number of citations from these papers was 13,434. The ih(5)-index at the University of Toronto was 50.


On the basis of comparison with published bibliometric data of US programs, the University of Toronto ranks first in terms of number of publications, number of citations, and ih(5)-index among neurosurgical programs in North America and most likely in the world.

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Familial Cerebral Aneurysms and Type III Collagen Deficiency

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Criteria for the ethical conduct of psychiatric neurosurgery clinical trials

Nir Lipsman, Mark Bernstein, and Andres M. Lozano

There is an urgent need for an effective therapy for treatment-refractory mental illness. Trials ongoing globally that explore surgical treatment, such as deep brain stimulation, for refractory psychiatric disease have produced some promising early results. However, diverse inclusion criteria and variable methodological and ethical standards, combined with the sordid past of neuromodulation, confound trial interpretation and threaten the integrity of a new and emerging science. What is required is a standard of ethical practice, globally applied, for neurosurgical trials in psychiatry that protects patients and maintains a high ethical benchmark for clinicians and researchers to meet. With mental illness, as well as treatment resistance, reaching epidemic proportions, ethically and scientifically sound clinical trials will lead to effective and safe surgical treatments that will become vital components of the clinicians' armamentarium. Ethical criteria, such as the ones proposed here, need to be established now and applied in earnest if the field is to move forward and if patients with no other therapeutic options are to receive much-needed treatment.

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Microsurgical C-2 ganglionectomy for chronic intractable occipital pain

Andres M. Lozano, Graham Vanderlinden, Robert Bachoo, and Peter Rothbart

Object. The authors evaluated the effectiveness of microsurgical C-2 ganglionectomy in 39 patients with medically refractory chronic occipital pain. In this procedure the neurons transmitting sensory inputs from the occiput are removed and, unlike peripheral nerve ablation, axonal regeneration is not possible.

Methods. The patients in this series had symptoms for 1 to 43 years. In 22 patients the occipital pain was caused by trauma; in 17 patients the pain was spontaneous. Pain relief failed in 17 patients who had undergone a previous occipital neurectomy or C-2 rhizolysis. Twenty-three patients experienced pain that was described as shocklike, electric, shooting, jabbing, stabbing, sharp, or exploding (Group I). Eight patients described their pain as dull, pounding, aching, throbbing, or pressurelike (Group II). The patients underwent unilateral or bilateral C-2 open microsurgical ganglionectomies.

The postoperative follow-up period ranged from 19 to 48 months. Nineteen patients experienced an excellent result (> 90% reduction in pain). Pain caused by trauma or that described using Group I terms responded best to ganglionectomy (80% good or excellent response). In contrast, the majority of the patients with nontraumatic pain or those described using Group II descriptors did not achieve favorable results.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that: 1) patients who suffer from chronic occipital pain after having sustained injury obtain worthwhile benefit from microsurgical C-2 ganglionectomy; 2) patients suffering from migraine, tension, and vascular headaches involving the occipital area are most often not helped by this operation; and 3) terms such as “shock,” “electric,” “shooting,” “jabbing,” and “sharp” used to describe occipital pain predict a favorable pain outcome following a C-2 ganglionectomy.

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Letter to the Editor: Citation of the neurosurgical papers

Mikhail Chernov, Yoshihiro Muragaki, and Hiroshi Iseki

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Current and future indications for deep brain stimulation in pediatric populations

Nir Lipsman, Michael Ellis, and Andres M. Lozano

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proven to be an effective and safe treatment option in patients with various advanced and treatment-refractory conditions. Thus far, most of the experience with DBS has been in the movement disorder literature, and more specifically in the adult population, where its use in conditions such as Parkinson disease has revolutionized management strategies. The pediatric population, however, can also be afflicted by functionally incapacitating neurological conditions that remain refractory despite the clinicians' best efforts. In such cases, DBS offers an additional treatment alternative. In this paper, the authors review their institution's experience with DBS in the pediatric population, and provide an overview of the literature on DBS in children. The authors conclude that DBS in children can and should be considered a valid and effective treatment option, albeit in highly specific and carefully selected cases.

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Highly cited works in neurosurgery

Roberto C. Heros