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Image of the Day

The images that appear in the "Image of the Day" are selected for the freshness of their views on Brain Mapping, their esthetic appeal, their quirkiness, or someimes just to prod you into thinking about the field and its context. Their appearance here is not an endorsement of their subject matter.

Awake brain mapping makes for some potentially entertaining surgery

Bruce Hill was doing some Monday morning proselytizing about his Mormon faith, which is not unusual except that his skull was spread open and Dr. Mitchel S. Berger was tinkering with the temporal lobe.

Hill was awake and talking during his brain surgery so that Berger could test his language skills. There was a tumor in there that had to come out. And the only way to know what brain matter could safely come out with it was to ask the patient.

The procedure is called awake brain mapping and it works as a process of elimination. The surgeon uses an electrical charge to inactivate an area of the brain. Then the patient is presented with a question, in the form of a word or object drawn on a computer screen. If he can answer correctly with that area inactivated, then that tissue can be removed without causing brain damage.

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Submitted by: Mark Cohen

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