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Violinist plays right through brain surgery

By Mike Rossi     Aug 18, 2014 in Odd News
Rochester - Doctors like to keep patients engaged and alert during brain surgery, but having them play a violin? — Now that's something unusual.
But not unheard of.
A four-minute video uploaded to YouTube by the Mayo Clinic earlier this year shows a man undergoing brain surgery while doctors ask him to play the violin.
The footage — taken back in 2009 — features professional violinist Roger Frisch lying supine on an operating table, violin in-hand, while surrounded by a team of scrub-clad surgeons casually inserting electrodes into his brain tissue.
Why would doctors have this musically-inclined man play an instrument during an operation?
At an undisclosed point in time, Frisch began suffering from tremors any time he played violin.
The uncontrollable shaking severely impeded his ability successfully play the finely tuned instrument and put his career as a professional musician in jeopardy.
To correct the malady, doctors knew they'd need to insert devices essentially amounting to cerebral pacemakers directly into his brain.
However, the sensitivity of the violin — and the acute fine-motor control required to play it with professional proficiency — meant any residual shaking, even the slightest twitch while playing, would render the procedure a failure.
Therefore, doctors created a special violin and bow — mounted with specific sensors designed to measure the faintest quiver of hand — to help guide their electrode placement, ensuring complete neutralization of the neuromuscular misfiring.
The end result? — Complete success. Doctors, guided by a melodic in-surgery accompaniment, managed to help the Frisch salvage his musical career.
More about Music, Violinist brain surgery, the verge, Mayo clinic, Tremors
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