Surgeons sometimes have to operate on the brains of conscious patients, for example, to treat or remove certain tumors. Rhodes alumnus Dr. Michael Long and his team of researchers have come up with a technique during surgery to protect areas of the brain where speech occurs. The technique is described in a study published in the journal Neuron.
Patients in the study were put under local anesthesia for an initial part of their operations. This left the patients awake and able to speak as part of an effort to map brain functions.
“Our study results also represent a major advance in the understanding of the roles played by the areas of the brain that enable us to form words,” says Long in a news release. According to him, it could lead to new therapies for people who have lost speaking ability because of disease or injury.