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Biological Plasticity: The Future of Science in Neurosurgery

Hodge, Charles J. Jr. M.D.; Boakye, Max M.D.

Principal's Editorial

THE FUTURE OF neurosurgery is intimately related to the future of neuroscientific research. Although the field of neuroscience is immense and not subject to brief review, it is clear that certain trends have become critical to future thinking regarding neurosurgery. An important theme that recurs in much of the current research and that will become more prominent in the future is the concept of plasticity. This refers not only to the changes in cortical representation that can occur after a variety of perturbations but also to a wide variety of neurologically relevant biological processes. In this review, we describe three areas of plasticity, i.e., the response of the brain to ischemia, cortical representational changes, and the potential for stem cell biological processes to allow us to manipulate plasticity. We posit that these trends will be crucial to the future of our specialty.

Department of Neurosurgery, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York

Received, September 1, 2000.

Accepted, September 7, 2000.

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons