We present the case of a professional jazz guitarist with temporal lobe epilepsy secondary to an arteriovenous cerebral malformation.
The patient underwent a left temporal lobectomy in 1980. After surgery, he presented with severe retrograde amnesia and complete loss of musical interest and capabilities. The patient's musical abilities recovered over time, and he regained his previous virtuoso status. In 2007, his medical history, neuropsychologic functions, and structural magnetic resonance imaging study were examined and revealed a remarkable degree of recovery of memory and musical abilities in the context of extensive temporal lobe resection. The neuropsychologic findings and neuroanatomic features of the magnetic resonance imaging study were analyzed to try to understand the high degree of recovery of both long-term memory and musical processing abilities in this musician.
This case reveals the possibility of an unusual degree of cerebral plasticity and reorganization. Additionally, it emphasizes the question of musical virtuosity. This report shows that the musical capabilities of professional musicians, in specific cases, can completely recover even when much of the left temporal lobe has been removed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Concepts from cognitive neuroscience strongly suggest that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a crucial role in the cognitive functions necessary for creative thinking. Functional imaging studies have repeatedly demonstrated the involvement of PFC in creativity tasks. Patient studies have demonstrated that frontal damage due to focal lesions or neurodegenerative diseases are associated with impairments in various creativity tasks. However, against all odds, a series of clinical observations has reported the facilitation of artistic production in patients with neurodegenerative diseases affecting PFC, such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). An exacerbation of creativity in frontal diseases would challenge neuroimaging findings in controls and patients, as well as the theoretical role of prefrontal functions in creativity processes. To explore this paradox, we reported the history of a FTD patient who exhibited the emergence of visual artistic productions during the course of the disease. The patient produced a large amount of drawings, which have been evaluated by a group of professional artists who were blind to the diagnosis. We also reviewed the published clinical cases reporting a change in the artistic abilities in patients with neurological diseases. We attempted to reconcile these clinical observations to previous experimental findings by addressing several questions raised by our review. For instance, to what extent can the cognitive, conative, and affective changes following frontal damage explain changes in artistic abilities? Does artistic exacerbation truly reflect increased creative capacities? These considerations could help to clarify the place of creativity-as it has been defined and explored by cognitive neuroscience-in artistic creation and may provide leads for future lesion studies.
Frontiers in Psychology 07/2014; 5:761. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00761 · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current review examines the possibility that training-related changes that take place in the brains of musicians may have a beneficial effect on their cognitive outcome and recovery following neurological damage. First, we propose three different mechanisms by which training-related brain changes might result in relatively preserved function in musicians as compared to non-musicians with cerebral lesions. Next, we review the neuropsychological literature examining musical ability in professional musicians following brain damage, specifically of vascular, tumoral and epileptic aetiology. Finally, given that assessment of musician patients can greatly inform our understanding of the influence of premorbid experience on postmorbid recovery, we suggest some basic guidelines for the future evaluation of relevant patients.
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