We’ve known for years that guitarist’s brains are different from everyone else’s. If you haven’t heard that news yet, you can read about it right here.
As it turns out, surgeons recently got a good look inside one guitarist’s brain while he was playing the instrument.
Anthony Kulkamp Dias, a 33-year old Brazilian bank worker—and a professional guitarist for 20 years—was asked by his surgeons to play guitar while they operated on his brain tumor so that they could conduct cerebral monitoring.
During his surgery, Dias performed Brazilian folk tunes as well as the Beatles’ 1965 hit “Yesterday,” as you can see in the video below. More important, Dias was able to inform the doctors how the surgery was affecting him.
The technique of keeping a patient conscious during brain surgery is relatively new. It’s done to help doctors monitor areas of the brain responsible for sensory response, motor skills and speech. By playing his guitar, Dias was able to keep these areas stimulated and assist the doctors.
Dias first noticed he was having a medical problem when he began stuttering and was unable to repeat the make of his car. The surgery to remove his tumor was a success, and Dias has been released from the hospital.
As it turns out, Dias isn’t the first brain surgery patient to play a stringed instrument while under the knife.
In 2013, Brad Carter, a Hollywood actor and musician, played a cigar-box dobro when he underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted in his brain to control hand tremors. He has been a guitarist since 1988, and the tremors were affecting his ability to play. When prescribed drugs didn’t help, his doctor decided to try placing a pacemaker in Carter’s brain. The pacemaker produces deep-brain stimulation that can prevent the tremors.
Doctors wanted to keep Carter awake during surgery so that they could detect when they had placed the device in the correct spot. When he asked if he could bring the dobro to the operating room to see if stimulation from the pacemaker made an improvement, the doctors agreed.
You can get more about the story below in this BBC news report.