Raising a smile with brain surgery

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The amazing developments in the field of brain surgery often raise an eyebrow, but now it seems one development is also set to raise a smile.

That is because US neuroscientists have found a way to stimulate a part of the brain electrically to induce instantaneous laughter, followed by a sense of calm and contentment.

According to an article in the Mail Online, this technique of stimulating the cingulum bundle, a white matter tract in the brain, could help to calm patients who have to stay awake during delicate brain surgery. This is extremely important, as if a patient panics during awake brain surgery it could be dangerous or even life-threatening.

However, even anxious patients have to remain awake and un-sedated during brain surgery so that surgeons can talk with them during the procedure and ensure that the surgery is not negatively impacting on their critical brain functions.

In fact, in some instances, patients do more than just talk to their surgeons to help them tell that they are not damaging neural pathways. Here are just three amazing examples:

·         Playing the guitar

In 2018, during an awake craniotomy at Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital in Durban, a patient played notes on his guitar while surgeons removed a brain tumour.

·         Playing the saxophone

In 2015 in Spain, a patient played a jazz classic on his saxophone during a 12-hour operation to remove a tumour from his brain.

·         Singing opera

In the Netherlands, a tenor in the Dutch National Opera performed Schubert’s Gute Nacht while undergoing brain surgery.

Other brain surgery developments

If you are interested in other developments and advances in the field of brain surgery, why not click here to find out about upcoming neurosurgery, neuroscience and neurology conferences?

You can also click here to see our range of high quality surgical instruments from Swedish manufacturer Stille and German manufacturer Lawton.