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The Reticular Formation

The Nature of the Reticular Activating System

J. D. French

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S. A. Stornelli and J. D. French

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J. P. Segundo, R. Arana and J.D. French

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J. D. French, R. B. Livingston, B. Konigsmark and K. J. Richland

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Lyle A. French, John J. Wild and Donald Neal

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Don M. Long, J. Francis Hartmann and Lyle A. French

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Cerebral arterial spasm

Part 5: In vitro contractile activity of vasoactive agents including human CSF on human basilar and anterior cerebral arteries

George S. Allen, Carol J. Gross, Lyle A. French and Shelley N. Chou

In vitro experiments were performed with a small volume chamber to determine the contractile activity of various vasoactive agents on human basilar and anterior cerebral arteries. Cumulative log-dose response curves were obtained for most of the agents tested including serotonin and three different prostaglandins; many of these curves were found to be similar to curves previously obtained with canine cerebral arteries. It was concluded from these similarities that canine cerebral arteries are a good in vitro model for studying human cerebral arterial spasm. It was also demonstrated that human cerebrospinal fluid, collected up to 17 days after a subarachnoid hemorrhage from patients with clinical and angiographic evidence of cerebral arterial spasm, would cause large, dose-dependent contractions in human anterior cerebral arteries.

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J. D. French, P. M. West, F. K. von Amerongen and H. W. Magoun

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Daniel J. France, Cain Green, Susie Leming-Lee, Shilo Anders and J Mocco

Morbidity and mortality due to preventable medical errors are a disastrous reality in medicine. Debriefing, a process that allows individuals to discuss team performance in a constructive, supportive environment, has been linked to improved performance in various medical and surgical fields, including improvements in specific procedures, teamwork and communication, and error identification. However, the neurosurgical literature on this topic is limited. The authors review the debriefing literature in the field of medicine, with a specific emphasis on the operating room, and they report their own institutional experience with a debriefing module, from invention to pilot implementation, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The authors share the challenges and lessons learned from their quality improvement project. The field of neurosurgery would undoubtedly benefit from embracing debriefing, as its potential has been established in other medical specialties and can serve as a valuable role in immediately learning from mistakes. The authors hope that their colleagues can learn from this experience and improve their own.

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Cara L. Sedney, Scott D. Daffner, Jared J. Stefanko, Hesham Abdelfattah, Sanford E. Emery and John C. France


As spinal fusions become more common and more complex, so do the sequelae of these procedures, some of which remain poorly understood. The authors report on a series of patients who underwent removal of hardware after CT-proven solid fusion, confirmed by intraoperative findings. These patients later developed a spontaneous fracture of the fusion mass that was not associated with trauma. A series of such patients has not previously been described in the literature.


An unfunded, retrospective review of the surgical logs of 3 fellowship-trained spine surgeons yielded 7 patients who suffered a fracture of a fusion mass after hardware removal. Adult patients from the West Virginia University Department of Orthopaedics who underwent hardware removal in the setting of adjacent-segment disease (ASD), and subsequently experienced fracture of the fusion mass through the uninstrumented segment, were studied. The medical records and radiological studies of these patients were examined for patient demographics and comorbidities, initial indication for surgery, total number of surgeries, timeline of fracture occurrence, risk factors for fracture, as well as sagittal imbalance.


All 7 patients underwent hardware removal in conjunction with an extension of fusion for ASD. All had CT-proven solid fusion of their previously fused segments, which was confirmed intraoperatively. All patients had previously undergone multiple operations for a variety of indications, 4 patients were smokers, and 3 patients had osteoporosis. Spontaneous fracture of the fusion mass occurred in all patients and was not due to trauma. These fractures occurred 4 months to 4 years after hardware removal. All patients had significant sagittal imbalance of 13–15 cm. The fracture level was L-5 in 6 of the 7 patients, which was the first uninstrumented level caudal to the newly placed hardware in all 6 of these patients. Six patients underwent surgery due to this fracture.


The authors present a case series of 7 patients who underwent surgery for ASD after a remote fusion. These patients later developed a fracture of the fusion mass after hardware removal from their previously successfully fused segment. All patients had a high sagittal imbalance and had previously undergone multiple spinal operations. The development of a spontaneous fracture of the fusion mass may be related to sagittal imbalance. Consideration should be given to reimplanting hardware for these patients, even across good fusions, to prevent spontaneous fracture of these areas if the sagittal imbalance is not corrected.