Woman plays flute while undergoing brain surgery

Published: March 29, 2018 at 11:04 AM

Ben Hooper

March 29 (UPI) -- Doctors at a Houston hospital shared video of a woman playing the flute while on the operating table during a brain surgery procedure.

The Texas Medical Center said Anna Henry, 63, was undergoing a procedure known as "deep brain stimulation" in the hopes of treating a condition known as essential tremor, which caused Henry's hands to shake and prevented her from doing activities including eating soup with a spoon and playing her beloved instrument.

Doctors said the procedure involves implanting tiny electrodes in the brain that deliver a constant electric current. They said the science behind how the procedure works is still being studied, but it has been found to be effective for treating symptoms of conditions including essential tremor and Parkinson's disease.

The surgeons had Henry bring her flute, an instrument she has practiced since she was 11 but had to give up in recent years due to her shaking hands. They shared a video of her playing the instrument during the procedure to test if the electric current was helping.

"[Deep brain stimulation] works amazingly well," said Henry's neurologist, Mya Schiess, M.D., of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth. "If you have a tremor that is truly interfering with hand function, lifestyle, head or voice, honestly, there isn't a medicine out there that's going to really put you in a better state."

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