cover of Final Podcast
Final Podcast

Final Podcast


Nothing to say, yet



A patient at King's College Hospital in London underwent brain surgery while playing the violin to protect the areas of the brain responsible for hand movement control and coordination. The patient, Dagmar Turner, had a slow-growing tumor that had become more aggressive. Prior to the operation, doctors mapped out her brain to identify the active areas when she played the violin. They successfully removed 90% of the tumor without affecting her left hand function. Music has a significant impact on the brain, both emotionally and developmentally. Music therapy can reduce anxiety levels and improve mood. The brain is complex, but understanding its different parts can lead to successful surgeries and the continuation of passions like playing the violin. That was the sound of the bustling operating room as the violin played throughout a brain surgery. At King's College Hospital in London, a patient was awoke in the middle of her operation in order to ensure that they didn't compromise any of the brain's necessary parts that are required to play the violin since that was her passion and her career. These parts that they were trying not to affect were areas of hand movement control and coordination. Dagmar Turner was aware that she had a slow growing tumor in 2013 and then in 2020 at age 53, doctors found that it had become more aggressive and the violinist decided that it was necessary to have surgery to remove it. As explained in an article by NPR, prior to Dagmar's operation, they'd spent two hours carefully mapping out her brain to identify the areas that were active when she played the violin and those responsible for controlling the language and movement, as the hospital statement said. This is essential because there are so many different parts of the brain that control different things and if they wanted to not impact those very vital areas, they had to have very careful planning. It was also explained that it was on her right side, so it would impact her left hand movement, but this was not good for her job as she needed both since the violin is not an easy instrument to play with just one hand. In the end, they were able to remove 90% of the tumor with maintaining full function in the left hand. Dagmar Turner explained how the violin is my passion and I have been playing since I was 10 years old, which I think explains very briefly how important this was to her. But first, to understand the story, I think it is extremely necessary to get a brief overview of the different parts of the brain and their function because each part of the brain is so different in what they control. So, the first three main areas are the cerebrum, the brainstem, and the cerebellum. The cerebrum is one of the largest parts of the brain as explained by John Hopkins medical article and this initiates and coordinates movement and regulates temperature. Other areas that it also helps is enabling speech, judgment, thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, and emotions and learning. So, the cerebrum covers a wide range of functions. The brainstem is in the middle of the brain and connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It has various functions and so there's different parts within the brainstem that control different things, but we're not going to go into detail on those. The cerebellum function is to coordinate voluntary muscle movements and maintain posture and balance and equilibrium. This is all explained by John Hopkins medical journal and it can be further looked at if we want to go into more detail. But another important aspect to understand is the different lobes of the brain. These are what I really helped learn the brain by when I first learned in anatomy and physiology class because they're easily to be memorized by certain key functions that they help perform. So, the first area is the frontal lobe. This is at the front of your head, hence the name, or the front of your brain, hence the name, and it is involved in personality characteristics, decision making, and movement. Speech ability is also controlled there, but movement is the main one that I think of when I think of frontal lobe of the brain. The parietal lobe is used to identify objects and understand different relationships. This is all explained by John Hopkins medical journal again and it is also involved in interpreting pain and touch and can be used to understand spoken language. The temporal lobe is involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm, and some degree of like smell recognition, and the occipital lobe is in the very back of your head and that controls vision. This just shows that each part of the brain focuses on such different things and are so specific. These different parts work so well together and are able to help the human body perform all the various functions we are able to today. Therefore, this allows us to understand more of how it is possible for them to perform this surgery in certain areas to ensure that other certain functions are not being affected. So they were trying not to impact the frontal lobe or the cerebrum as we talked about because they were trying not to impact her hand movements and coordination and different types of movements as we said that's essential to remembering what the frontal lobe is. Music in the brain are obviously so they can have such a big relationship with one another whether that's emotional like seen in Turner's case where she couldn't imagine her life without being able to play the violin and it also has developmental impacts as well. The musician in the surgery as stated before Dagmar Turner shows how important and it was to her to take that it made it sure that she would take this great big leap to do such a surgery and wake up in the middle of it. Music has also proven to have significant effects that are other than just emotional ones like her case that is said by an article in the scientific research. Music positively impacts the brain development and invokes specific positive stimulation in various areas of the brain. This can enhance things like memory. Music therapy can also reduce a patient's anxiety levels and improving the mood and reducing response to things like this reducing the response to things like depression. This is all shown in that article by scientific research. Therefore the article shows that many impacts that the brain and music can have on each other but as it's shown in Turner's situation it can sometimes mean more emotionally than just being used for the physical or developmental impacts. Turner could not imagine her life without it and as it as could so many others. With all that being said the brain is very complex and there's way more than it does than just those brief overviews of the different lobes and parts of the brain but things are possible when you're able to look at the different parts and then apply them to how it is used. So like Turner she was able to successfully have her tumor removed and continue to do her dream which was playing the violin.

Listen Next

Other Creators