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August 1976

The "Respirator Brain"

Author Affiliations

Dept of Neuropathology Institute of Neurological Sciences Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland

Arch Neurol. 1976;33(8):589. doi:10.1001/archneur.1976.00500080067012

To the Editor.—  A recent critique by Walker and colleagues1 is an attempt to define the structural abnormalities in the so-called respirator brain. Unfortunately, many professional neuropathologists will be reluctant to accept several of their rather controversial conclusions, which must therefore be questioned if only to prevent their too ready acceptance by people with insufficient experience in neuropathology to interpret the published results. Even the title of the article is surprising since it incorporates both "irreversible coma" and the "respirator brain"; fortunately, the fact that the two terms are not synonymous is clarified early in the text.Information about the "respirator brain" was obtained from project neuropathologists participating in the Collaborative Study on Cerebral Survival, and the data obtained were reviewed by the project coordinator and one or more members of the Neuropathology Review Panel. Where there was any difference of opinion between the project coordinator and the project (ie