Brain Stimulation Makes Man A Johnny Cash Fan?
A man developed a passionate love for the music of Johnny Cash after being implanted with a brain stimulation device. The unique story is told in a case report in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, published on the 6th May.
The authors, Mariska Mantione and colleagues, describe the case of “Mr. B”, a 58 year old Dutch man who had suffered from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety since the age of 13.
Mr. B. reported he felt very confident, calm and assertive and he started to call himself “Mr. B. II”, the new and improved version of himself.
But it wasn’t just his symptoms that changed; his musical taste did too. Previously Mr B had been quite fond of the Rolling Stones, but he wasn’t really a big music lover. However,
…a half year after DBS surgery, Mr. B. stated that he was turning into a Johnny Cash fan. He had been listening to the radio, when he coincidentally heard “Ring of Fire” of the Country and Western singer and experienced that he was deeply affected by the song. Mr. B. started to listen to more songs of Johnny Cash and noticed that he was deeply moved by the raw and low-pitched voice of the singer
Mr. B. reported that he felt good following treatment with DBS and that the songs of Johnny Cash made him feel even better. From this moment on, Mr. B. kept listening simply and solely to Johnny Cash and bought all his CD’s and DVD’s… From the first time Mr. B. heard a Johnny Cash song, [all other music] has been banned.
However, this remarkable Cash-omania apparently vanished on occasions when the DBS stimulation turned off:
His former musical taste reoccurred immediately when stimulation was interrupted due to battery depletion, suggesting a direct causal link between musical preference and stimulation of the accumbens.
What does this mean? It’s a fascinating case, but hard to make sense of. The most direct interpretation would be that stimulation of the accumbens directly made Mr B more receptive to enjoying and becoming a fan of music.
The accumbens is involved in pleasure and motivation so this is plausible, but it begs the question, why Johnny Cash rather than any other musician? Can the specific object of Mr B’s new preference be explained, or is it just one of those inexplicable quirks of human life?
Then again, who’s to say that the nucleus accumbens stimulation was directly responsible for the Cash preference? Perhaps it was the sense of a new perspective on life, secondary to his symptom improvement, that was crucial. Maybe any effective OCD treatment would have had the same consequence? Against this possibility, Mantione and colleagues note that the preference seemed to be contingent on the continuing accumbens stimulation, but this is essentially an anecdote, not a rigorous blinded discontinuation trial.
Mantione, M., Figee, M., & Denys, D. (2014). A case of musical preference for Johnny Cash following deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00152
Mueran Humanos, the Argentinian but Berlin based duo made up by Carmen Burguess and Tomás Nochteff, will release their sophomore album “Miseress” on ATP Recordings on November 27, continuing their post punk, industrial inflected synth explorations first introduced on their 2011 self-titled debut album.
We released their single on Louder Than War records (order from here) a couple of years ago and wrote about them in 2011 and are thrilled to see ATP release the album.
Having created Mueran Humanos in 2006, Carmen and Tomàs embody the classic counterculture tradition of an “us against the world” couple driven to greatness through...
01 - Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash) 02 - Busted (Harlan Howard) 03 - Dark as the Dungeon (Merle Travis) 04 - I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash / Roy Cash) 05 - Cocaine Blues (T.J. "Red" Arnall) 06 - 25 Minutes to Go (Shel Silverstein) 07 - Orange Blossom Special (Ervin T. Rouse) 08 - The Long Black Veil (Danny Dill / Marijohn Wilkin) 09 - Send a Picture of Mother (Johnny Cash) 10 - The Wall (Harlan Howard) 11 - Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog (Jack Clement) ...
I managed to sneak away for a few free-ranging hours at the Richmond Folk Festival on Saturday, and I brought my camera along with a photo post in mind.
Such a great time. Such talented groups. Such a fun format. The 45-minute sets are the perfect length for a festival like this — long enough for you to become invested in what you’re seeing and hearing, short enough for you to sample a bunch of different groups throughout the day. Here’s a shot of my marked-up schedule:
I didn’t get photos of everything I saw, and you’ll notice I didn’t work up the courage to...
Road Gore: The Band That Drank Too Much is the debut album released by Edmonton, Alberta’s Jerry Jerry & The Sons of Rhythm Orchestra. Although the album was released in 1985 on OG Records (and on CD in 1990), the band first got their start in 1982. Their first release was an EP in 1984 entitled Fighting Socialism put out on Rubber Records. Apparently the only release on this label, Rubber Records was an independent label put together by the band’s soundman, Barry Peters. However, it wasn’t until after opening for Deja Voodoo...
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In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Bonnie Jo Campbell's remarkable new short story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is filled with sharp observances of Midwestern life and the hardships women face.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote of the book:
"It's a hard-luck, hardscrabble life in the world of Bonnie Jo Campbell's stories, a landscape that's as fertile as it is unforgiving, where families crop up and wither with the weather...
Guitar Virtuoso John Jorgenson to Release Limited Edition, 3-CD Box Set Divertuoso
Los Angeles - Much to the excitement of guitar players and musicians worldwide, John Jorgenson will release Divertuoso, a limited edition, 3-CD box set of three separate, all-new full-length albums featuring three of Jorgenson’s band configurations (gypsy jazz, bluegrass and electric) via Cleopatra Records on October 16, 2015.
Jorgenson's career has been wide-ranging, including playing lead guitar in Elton John's band for seven years; being a co-founder of both the groundbreaking The Hellecasters and The Desert Rose Band; being widely known as the U.S. Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz; and...