(Supplied: University of Rochester)
Dr Pilcher teamed up with Brad Mahon, an associate professor at the university’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, who had developed a brain mapping program with for patients set to undergo surgery.”Removing a tumour from the brain can have significant consequences depending upon its location,” Dr Pilcher said.”Both the tumour itself and the operation to remove it can damage tissue and disrupt communication between different parts of the brain.”It is, therefore, critical to understand as much as you can about each individual patient before you bring them into the operating room so we can perform the procedure without causing damage to parts of the brain that are important to that person’s life and function.”The pair also brought Elizabeth Marvin, a professor of music theory at the university’s Eastman School of Music, on board.She developed a series of cognitive tests to monitor areas important for music and language processing, while Mr Fabbio’s brain was being scanned.Saxophone used to measure ability to performBut those tests could only do so much.They were not able to measure if Mr Fabbio’s ability to perform music would remain — which is how his saxophone ending up on the operating table.During surgery, the researchers scanned Mr Fabio’s brain and had him perform the cognitive tests.Then, after the tumour was removed, he was given his saxophone.”It made you want to cry — he played it flawlessly and when he finished the entire operating room erupted in applause,” Dr Marvin said. Photo:
Dan Fabbio played the saxophone after the tumour was removed. (Supplied: University of Rochester)
Mr Fabbio has since completely recovered, and he returned to teaching music within a few months within a few months of the operation.”As I think back about Dan’s case and about the incredible outcome and what we were able to achieve, it reminds me of how far we have come,” Dr Pilcher said.The approach also formed the basis of a new study, published in Current Biology, that examined how music is processed in the brain.But it is not the first time a musician has performed while undergoing surgery.In July, an Indian musician strummed his guitar throughout his neurosurgery to help doctors zero in on the part of his brain being operated on.And in 2009, a US concert violinist underwent surgery to correct what could have been a career-ending condition that made his hands shake, and played violin during the operation to guide the surgeons. Mr Fabbio awake and serenading surgeons with a saxophone solo — while undergoing brain surgery.Mr Fabbio was initially referred to Web Pilcher, a neurosurgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Centre.”When I met Dan for the first time, he expressed how concerned he was about losing his musical ability, because this frankly was the most important thing to him in his life, not only his livelihood, but his profession and his interest in life,” Dr Pilcher said. Photo:
Dan Fabbio was worried about losing his ability to play music. When music teacher Dan Fabbio was diagnosed with a brain tumour, he was concerned about losing not only his livelihood but one of his greatest passions in life during the surgery to remove it.The tumour was located near the part of the brain responsible for music function — so a team of physicians, scientists and a music professor came up with a novel way of ensuring Mr Fabbio did not lose his musical abilities.The result?
September 04, 2017 10:59:00
Mr Fabbio serenaded surgeons with a saxophone solo while undergoing brain surgery.
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Musician plays guitar as doctors perform brain surgery