Brain Injury Begets a Beethoven

Brain injury releases a dormant ability which can inspire all

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Imagine never having the ability to play music before, then getting a severe concussion and suddenly playing like Beethoven. This is just what happened to Derek Amato following a game of water football gone bad.

The freak accident where Amato hit his head on the bottom of the pool not only resulted in loss of hearing and memory loss––it changed the course of his life. Within days he began seeing music downloaded into his consciousness, and began playing the piano like a maestro.

"An unusual concussion brings with it a beautiful gift."

Darold A. Treffert, M.D., author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant says, "Acquired savant syndrome, which Derek demonstrates so dramatically, hints at dormant potential--a little Rain Man perhaps--within us all.

Exceptional abilities such as those needed for complex mathematical equations, piano playing and painting can surface after a head injury. Treffert adds, "I originally thought the new skills were a compensatory process, but more and more cases of post-stroke or even in dementia, suggest a 'release' phenomenon rather than a compensatory one". 

The challenge of course is how to tap that buried potential within us all without a head injury, stroke or dementia. Cases such as Derek's make that search, now underway, all the more intriguing, urgent and compelling."

While Amato composes music sweet enough to bring tears to his friends' eyes and has a photographic memory regarding any new song he hears, he does pay a price. The music constantly streams into his consciousness and headaches accompany his musical genius.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins developed a strategy employing epileptic drugs to "calm down" the overactive musical portion in his brain.

However, Amato decided to skip therapy as he is willing to endure the headaches to live this new life of inspiration and music.

Amato says, "I'm not sure if God intended my musical experience to be clouded by a pill. A headache is a small sacrifice when compared to the gift I have received."

Amato has since left his corporate job to share this most miraculous musical testimony with the world. Do you believe in miracles?

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 21, 2011
Last Updated:
May 28, 2011