Neuroscience Cases: The Musical Brain Surgery

Neuroscience Cases: The Musical Brain Surgery

Eddie before the surgery

Many people have musical skills, whether it be primary school recorder or grade 8 harp. However, few can say they have played an instrument while surgeons are operating on their brain. Once such man is Eddie Adcock. Eddie was a famous blue grass banjo player who had been on the circuit for years. However, in 2008 he started to have hand tremours which threatened his career. Not one to give up on his music Eddie elected to undergo surgery to fix the problem. However there was one catch, he would have to be awake and playing the banjo whilst under the knife.

Due to the lack of sensory neurons in the brain the action of the surgeons would not be felt by Eddie during the surgery. However, he did require local anaesthetic so the surgeons could cut through his skull and gain access to his brain. The surgery, carried out at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville involved stimulating different parts of his brain with an electrode whilst Eddie was playing to identify which region of the brain caused the tremours. Whilst the process was done an amazing video was taken of the surgery:

Thankfully the surgery was a success and Eddie is still touring, playing the music he loves.