Posted by: reisendame | September 24, 2007

Imagine looking at the doctor who’s drilling a hole in your head… and living to tell the tale in good health.

For the first time ever, doctors operated on a man’s brain with cutting-edge technology while he was awake, visually aware, and speaking- and it went off without a hitch.


Australian John James, who is a great-grandfather, was struck with a life-threatening brain aneurism that he first became aware of when he suffered dizziness and vision problems. Doctors were worried that surgery would leave him blind, so he was fully conscious as they drilled a half-inch hole in his head and drained the blood of the aneurism. While he was awake, doctors and nurses monitored his vision by asking him to read flash cards as they worked. Similar procedures have already been employed, but this is the first time doctors used a GPS-style mapping system to rehearse the operation.

This remarkable feat may be the first step in eliminating blindness after brain surgery. For example, victims of brain tumors risk blindness in a necessary step to save their lives. Actually, my uncle had a brain tumor removed 20 years ago and he has been legally blind since the surgery- the only sight he has retained is tunnel-vision in one eye. Even though he’s still alive, his handicap has proven to be a huge obstacle in his personal and professional life.

Tumors are a bit of a different ball game than aneurisms, but the success of this surgery is definitely a positive accomplishment in moving towards more effective brain operations. Our brains are incredibly sensitive areas- the network of nerves and tissue inside our skulls control breathing, movement, language, comprehension; basically, it serves as our bodies “command center.” Our brains control how the rest of our bodies function.

We certainly have a long way to go in eliminating complications in a variety of brain procedures, but science can be a powerful tool for saving and improving peoples’ lives, whether you are a patient or that patient’s family member. The fact that this team of surgeons pulled off the seemingly impossible proves that science’s most admirable days may not be too far off.

Another wordpress blog: “Very Sad Story”- man blinded by brain surgery Nanotech helps blind hamsters see”



  1. Very well written. I enjoyed reading all of your blogs. Keep up the good work!

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