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Dhaka musician strums guitar during brain surgery in Bengaluru

Guitarist Taskin Ali The 31-year-old man from Dhaka was diagnosed with focal hand dystonia on his left hand.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2018 14:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Taskin Ali,India news,focal hand dystonia
Guitarist Taskin Ali from Dhaka was diagnosed with focal hand dystonia on his left hand. (Screengrab)

Guitarist Taskin Ali strummed along as neurosurgeons burned bits of his brain to fix a rare disorder that impaired his ability to play an instrument or type on mobile.

The 31-year-old man from Dhaka was diagnosed with focal hand dystonia on his left hand. Also known as musician’s dystonia, or cramp, it is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s hand and finger movement because the brain sends incorrect information to the muscles. The affected area or hand would be fine in normal circumstances.

Even though there is no known cure for the disorder, Ali was operated upon on May 17 by a team of doctors at Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital in Bengaluru. The procedure involved ‘burning’ a set of ‘misbehaving and misfiring’ circuits about 8-10 cm inside his brain.

Ali took inspiration from Abhishek Prasad, a 37-year-old guitarist, who was successfully operated upon for the same condition in Bengaluru on July 11, 2017, a first in India.

A video of Ali’s surgery, uploaded by a doctor, was widely shared on social media.

During the procedure, Ali was administered local anesthesia but kept fully awake for the surgeons to know if they are burning the right circuits.

Ali had saved money for 10 months, sold his guitar to travel to Bengaluru for the surgery, according to a reporton ndtv.com.

“He got near-100% results during surgery, especially for the use of his 1/2/4/5th fingers and about 50% result in the 3rd finger,” said Dr Sharan Srinivasan, one of the doctors who performed the surgery.

Ali, who eventually regained 100% function in his 3rd finger along with strength and coordination in his hand, strummed his guitar at a press conference.

Musician’s dystonia can easily be misdiagnosed as muscle stress, pull or strain.

Surgeons make an incision in the skull and insert a 9cm electrode to burn parts of the brain that cause the disorder. As the brain has no ability to feel pain, local anaesthesia is applied to the skin and skull where the cut is made and the patient’s head is covered with a contraption that looks like a helmet.

The rest of the brain functions normally and the musician is asked to play his preferred instrument during the process. It lets the surgeons know if the “brain burning” is working or how much more they need to burn.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 14:25 IST