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.
Marcelo Galarza, M.D., M.Sc. 1, Claire Isaac, M.D. 2, Olga Pellicer Porcar, Ph.D. 3, Andrew Mayes, M.D. 2, Paul Broks, M.D. 2, Daniela Montaldi, M.D. 2, Christine Denby, M.D. 2, and Frederick Simeone, M.D. 4
1- Regional Department of Neurosurgery, “Virgen de la Arrixaca” University Hospital, Murcia, Spain; 2- Department of Psychology and Radiology, University of Sheffield, UK; 3- Department of Health Psychology, University Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain;4- Department of Neurosurgery Jefferson Faculty Foundation, Philadelphia, USA.