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Daniel R. Cleary, Alp Ozpinar, Ahmed M. Raslan and Andrew L. Ko

Fossil records showing trephination in the Stone Age provide evidence that humans have sought to influence the mind through physical means since before the historical record. Attempts to treat psychiatric disease via neurosurgical means in the 20th century provided some intriguing initial results. However, the indiscriminate application of these treatments, lack of rigorous evaluation of the results, and the side effects of ablative, irreversible procedures resulted in a backlash against brain surgery for psychiatric disorders that continues to this day. With the advent of psychotropic medications, interest in invasive procedures for organic brain disease waned.

Diagnosis and classification of psychiatric diseases has improved, due to a better understanding of psychiatric patho-physiology and the development of disease and treatment biomarkers. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of patients remain refractory to multiple modes of treatment, and psychiatric disease remains the number one cause of disability in the world. These data, along with the safe and efficacious application of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders, in principle a reversible process, is rekindling interest in the surgical treatment of psychiatric disorders with stimulation of deep brain sites involved in emotional and behavioral circuitry.

This review presents a brief history of psychosurgery and summarizes the development of DBS for psychiatric disease, reviewing the available evidence for the current application of DBS for disorders of the mind.

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Daniel R. Cleary, Dominic A. Siler, Nathaniel Whitney and Nathan R. Selden

OBJECTIVE

Surgical simulation has the potential to supplement and enhance traditional resident training. However, the high cost of equipment and limited number of available scenarios have inhibited wider integration of simulation in neurosurgical education. In this study the authors provide initial validation of a novel, low-cost simulation platform that recreates the stress of surgery using a combination of hands-on, model-based, and computer elements. Trainee skill was quantified using multiple time and performance measures. The simulation was initially validated using trainees at the start of their intern year.

METHODS

The simulation recreates intraoperative superior sagittal sinus injury complicated by air embolism. The simulator model consists of 2 components: a reusable base and a disposable craniotomy pack. The simulator software is flexible and modular to allow adjustments in difficulty or the creation of entirely new clinical scenarios. The reusable simulator base incorporates a powerful microcomputer and multiple sensors and actuators to provide continuous feedback to the software controller, which in turn adjusts both the screen output and physical elements of the model. The disposable craniotomy pack incorporates 3D-printed sections of model skull and brain, as well as artificial dura that incorporates a model sagittal sinus.

RESULTS

Twelve participants at the 2015 Western Region Society of Neurological Surgeons postgraduate year 1 resident course (“boot camp”) provided informed consent and enrolled in a study testing the prototype device. Each trainee was required to successfully create a bilateral parasagittal craniotomy, repair a dural sinus tear, and recognize and correct an air embolus. Participant stress was measured using a heart rate wrist monitor. After participation, each resident completed a 13-question categorical survey.

CONCLUSIONS

All trainee participants experienced tachycardia during the simulation, although the point in the simulation at which they experienced tachycardia varied. Survey results indicated that participants agreed the simulation was realistic, created stress, and was a useful tool in training neurosurgical residents. This simulator represents a novel, low-cost approach for hands-on training that effectively teaches and tests residents without risk of patient injury.

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Joseph P. Antonios, Ghassan J. Farah, Daniel R. Cleary, Joel R. Martin, Joseph D. Ciacci and Martin H. Pham

Spinal cord injury (SCI) has been associated with a dismal prognosis—recovery is not expected, and the most standard interventions have been temporizing measures that do little to mitigate the extent of damage. While advances in surgical and medical techniques have certainly improved this outlook, limitations in functional recovery continue to impede clinically significant improvements. These limitations are dependent on evolving immunological mechanisms that shape the cellular environment at the site of SCI. In this review, we examine these mechanisms, identify relevant cellular components, and discuss emerging treatments in stem cell grafts and adjuvant immunosuppressants that target these pathways. As the field advances, we expect that stem cell grafts and these adjuvant treatments will significantly shift therapeutic approaches to acute SCI with the potential for more promising outcomes.