Why this patient played a saxophone solo during his brain surgery

Thirteen months ago, Dan Fabbio had the performance of a lifetime — he played a saxophone solo in the middle of a surgery to remove a tumor in his brain, reports New York Daily News.

The 27-year-old musician was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago after experiencing dizziness and hallucinations. The tumor was located in an area of the brain linked to musical processing, so Mr. Fabbio's care team at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medicine's Translational Brain Mapping program spent six months studying how his brain processed music before the surgery.

"The goals of the program are to remove life-threatening tumors, while preserving the humanity of patients," U of R neuroscientist Brad Mahon, PhD, who helped develop the mapping methodology, told New York Daily News.

Physicians developed a 3-D map of Mr. Fabbio's brain, highlighting crucial areas for music and language processions. The map helped the physicians ensure Mr. Fabbio's music processing skills were not harmed during the July 2016 surgery.

Once they completely removed the tumor, the physicians asked Mr. Fabbio to play a saxophone solo.

"He played it really flawlessly. It was beautiful," Elizabeth Marvin, PhD, a professor of music theory at the University of Rochester told NBC News.

The physicians published a report about Mr. Fabbio's case in Current Biology, which can be accessed here.



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