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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Musician plays the violin as surgeons operate on his brain

"Concert master Roger Frisch (pictured above) has played his violin in a lot of exciting places, from Carnegie Hall to Shanghai. But the oddest place he's likely ever played was while lying on an operating table as neurosurgeons inserted probes into his brain."

"Frisch, a concert master with the Minnesota Orchestra, underwent brain surgery in a bid to stop painful tremors that had been plaguing his bowing hand and threatening his career.
Frisch says he developed the tremors two years ago, after arriving in China for a series of concerts.
"I noticed, I started playing, and I had a funny shake in my hand, which I'd never noticed before," he told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday from Minneapolis. "Of course, I just sort of chalked it up to the international trip. But that was the beginning of a very long and painful era where the tremor continued to get worse."
In June 2009, doctors diagnosed Frisch with something called "essential tremors," a degenerative neurological condition that occurs when sections of the brain that control movement start sending abnormal signals.
The condition most often affects hand movements, so that simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water eventually become difficult. For Frisch, the tremors were generally mild, but his right hand would shake uncontrollably when he held his bow up to his violin."

"So two months ago, he asked Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons to perform the surgery in which a long, thin electrical probe was inserted into his thalamus, the portion of the brain responsible for causing tremors.
In order for surgeons to know where precisely to place the probe, they needed to see Frisch's brain in action. So his surgeon, Dr. Kendall Lee, suggested Frisch stay awake during the surgery and play his violin while they operated."

"Ahead of the surgery, the Mayo team had its engineering division create a special violin bow for the surgery so that surgeons could see how the small tremors affected the slight hand movements in Frisch's bowing.
"There was a wireless device that was attached to the bow of the violin that had what's called an accelerometer. And so we could see his tremor, as well as hear his violin," Dr. Lee explained from Rochester, Minn.
"Then we could turn on the electrode stimulation and see how it was affecting his violin playing."

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.