17. December 2013 · Comments Off on Fascinating · Categories: Read Online

When the Glacier Symphony conductor cues principal oboe player Reid Merley to blow an A — that unmistakable standard pitch by which the orchestra tunes — Merley is in perfect control of the note.
But it wasn’t that long ago that a mysterious medical condition threatened to undo his musical career.
Thanks to a couple of skilled neurosurgeons and a medical device that had been used exclusively by patients with Parkinson’s disease, Merley is making music again.
One might call Merley a bionic musician. During the unusual surgery, neurosurgeons placed a stimulator in his brain while he played the oboe so the doctors could pinpoint the area of the brain causing the tremors that plagued him only when he played his musical instruments.
The procedure implanted electrodes in his brain, producing an electrical stimulus to regulate abnormal impulses. A pacemaker-like device was placed under the skin in his upper chest and is attached to a wire that travels under the skin, connecting to the electrodes in his brain.


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