If your friend had 10 research publications, that means he had research experience (residency directors use publications to gauge your research experience, along with LOR's).Scores were 260+ with 3 months elective each and around 10 research publications. Other than that they did not have any research experience or PHD. I dont remember which programme they got into because they werent form my university but we had mutual friends so thats how i got to know! And it was i think 2-3 years back! But with PHD and research work you should definitely give it a shot!
@Fin-84, it's definitely possible! I want to do neurosurgery also, and yes you have to try to do extremely well on the boards. 232 may be the average, but you're right, you should aim for much higher to give yourself more leverage. Research experience is highly valued, so if you can finish you PhD and get some publications, that will help also. Neurosurgery research will be an even bigger boost. The reason why research is so important is that most programs require their residents to take a year or two off during residency to do research with the program. So if you have some experience, this will show that you can do well during the research years of your residency. Just believe in yourself, you can do it!