Monday, October 20, 2008

Pickin' and Grimacin'

As a musician, and as someone with Parkinsonism in my family, I find Eddie Adcock to be an inspiration.

The three-part surgery, termed Deep Brain Stimulation, involved implantation of electrodes into the brain as well as insertion of a palm-sized battery-powered generator within the chest wall, plus lead wires to connect the two. The technologically-advanced procedure was performed in multiple stages over the month of August in Nashville, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital which is a world leader in neurological studies and surgeries.

Those neurosurgeons were eager to operate on Eddie, with his life-long high level of musical accomplishment and the unique requirements related to his fine motor skills. During the brain-implantation stage of the surgery, he was kept conscious in order to be able to play his Deering GoodTime banjo and assist the team of surgeons in directing the fine-tuning of their placement of electrodes in the brain -- an operating-room 'first'.

Eddie Adcock the Bionic Banjo Player

Adcock has played with Mac Wiseman, Bill Monroe's bands, and the Country Gentlemen. (Not that I knew that before today.) Frankly, I don't think I'd heard of him before at all, but I'm going to buy something of his today.

(Note: Although Deep Brain Stimulation is mostly known as a treatment for Parkinsonism, the article quoted above refers to Adcock as a "non-Parkinsons musician.")

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