A couple of days back, this musician in Bangalore strummed his guitar while doctors drilled a keyhole into his skull to ‘burn’ specific zones in his brain, while on the operating table. This surgery happened while the patient was fully conscious and playing the guitar, and the surgery achieved its purpose. The musician was cured of musician’s dystonia and we wish that he will continue playing his guitar for many more years to come. Though his entire episode sounds bizarre, but this did happen for real, and you can read about it here.
Coincidentally, when I read about this young musician’s surgery, I was also reading the summary of Jo Marchant’s Cure-: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, handcrafted by Sanjana Aggarwal.
Jo Marchant is an award winning science journalist and author. In her book Cure, Jo talks about how doctors are increasingly going into surgery with their patient being just under local anaesthesia. In this book, Jo Marchant quotes radiologist Elvira Lang who has a developed a routine called Comfort Talk where doctors engage in positive talk with the conscious patient during the surgery. Because as the radiologist says, our mental state matters even when we are undergoing a surgery.
This book Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body captures many such facets of life where, increasingly, science is opening its, well, mind, to the healing powers of the human mind. We all know playing games distracts attention from other things, so why not use this human mind behaviour to help alleviate the pain of a burns victim ? So there is a game Snow World that burn victims are asked to play so that they stay distracted. The result? The proportion of time these burns patients spent thinking about pain declined.
In this book, Jo Marchant explores some mind practices’ curative properties like mindfulness, hypnotherapy or just simple conversations (of the right kind).
And you can thank Sanjana Aggarwal for reading the book that would have taken her about 5 hours, and then handcrafting this lucid and short summary that should not take you more than 12 min to read.
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