Summary of “Brain Damage Saved His Music”

Galarza’s astonishment, like that of medical scientists and music fans, arises from the fact that Martino recovered from surgery with a significant portion of his brain and memory gone, but his guitar skills intact.
It looked like “a bundle of worms,” said Frederick Simeone, the surgeon who saved Martino’s life, in a 2009 documentary, Martino Unstrung: A Brain Mystery.
Paul Broks, a British neuropsychologist, co-writer of the documentary Martino Unstrung, and a co-author of the World Neurosurgery report, has said Martino’s surgery may have had “Nonspecific effects” on the areas that store and activate episodic memory, and those effects “Subsided as the brain readjusted physiologically post-surgery.”
In his 2014 report, “Jazz Improvisation, Creativity, and Brain Plasticity,” Duffau suggested that Martino’s language and music functions likely shifted from his left hemisphere to a more distributed orientation, incorporating part of the interior occipital lobe, which is normally dedicated to processing visual information.
Martino looked at a black void on one of his brain images.
Omigie echoes the point that Martino’s brain, long before it hemorrhaged or Martino even knew about his tangled veins, reorganized itself in a way that might shield it from damage.
Whatever brain mechanisms may have led to Martino’s revival, both Omigie and Broks, the neuropsychologist who spent months with Martino for the filming of Martino Unstrung, felt compelled to add that science couldn’t leave out the work and determination of the guitarist himself.
In a scene in Martino Unstrung, Martino looked at his MRI brain images.

The orginal article.