Top Neurosurgery Team Takes Viewers into a Cutting-Edge Operating Room to Perform "Brain Surgery Live"

Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss
Courtesy of National Geographic Channels

"Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss"
Premieres Sunday, Oct. 25, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT Live on NGC

          The 2-hour event will capture the drama of an awake deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, a modern-day medical marvel, to celebrate our most complex machine, the human brain. Produced by Leftfield Pictures, "Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss" (#BrainSurgeryLive) will blend live coverage from the operating room at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center (@UHhospitals) in Cleveland, Ohio — a first on U.S. television — with preproduced features that chronicle what science and medicine have historically taught us about the brain, and what is yet to be discovered. 

          DBS surgery was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat essential tremor in 1997 and Parkinson’s disease in 2002. While it has become more readily available, this delicate procedure is performed only at select medical centers — like UH Case Medical Center — that have the trained physicians, nurses and technicians, and specialized equipment it requires.

          “From our Emmy-nominated series Brain Games to Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss, we continue to celebrate the brain, inspiring and feeding viewers’ wonder and curiosity about the most complex and mysterious organ in the human body,” said Tim Pastore, president, original programming & production, National Geographic Channel. “We’re offering a real-time look into the center of a living brain that we hope will illuminate and teach, as well as tell a story that is unforgettable."           
Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss

Photo by Zoonar/P. Jilek
          "Brain Surgery Live" will take viewers into a cutting-edge operating room during a DBS surgery, an elective procedure in which an opening is made in the skull to access the brain. The brain is operated on while the patient is fully awake and able to speak with the neurosurgeons and neurologists. Because the patient is awake, the neurologists know where to target electrodes and then put the patient through a series of tests to determine whether or not they’ve pinpointed the affected area of the brain. The patient will be identified closer to the live taping after undergoing a wide range of screening and testing. 
          Creatively guided by Mental Floss, viewers will learn a great deal about the brain, including cutting-edge technologies used in surgery, how virtual reality is changing medicine, what science can glean from the study of famous brains, how male and female brains compare, how the brain influences creativity and how the brain interacts with the rest of the human body. 
          Host Bryant Gumbel will guide viewers through the live surgery and the journey of twists and turns of human gray matter. Joining him through the live coverage of the procedure is expert commentator and neurosurgeon Dr. Rahul Jandial, who provides insight into the hard science behind this operation; co-host, science journalist and host of the podcast “Talk Nerdy” Cara Santa Maria also lends her expertise and provides social commentary.
About the Neurosurgical Team

Originally founded nearly 150 years ago, UH Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and is nationally ranked by US News & World Report in nine adult specialties, including neurology and neurosurgery. Meet three of the top neurosurgeons at UH Case Medical Center who will be performing this cutting-edge operation in the live broadcast:

 Dr. Jonathan Miller, UH Case Medical Center
Dr. Jonathan Miller, UH Case Medical Center
Dr. Jonathan Miller

Dr. Jonathan Miller is director, Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery, UH Case Medical Center. He is also associate professor and vice chair for educational affairs, Department of Neurosurgery, Case Western Reserve University. Miller is board certified in neurologic surgery, and his special interests include neuromodulation, epilepsy surgery, DBS, movement disorders, neuropathic pain, cognitive/mood disorders, drug delivery, peripheral nerve surgery and traumatic brain injury.


 Dr. Jennifer Sweet, UH Case Medical Center
Dr. Jennifer Sweet, UH Case Medical Center
Dr. Jennifer Sweet

Dr. Jennifer Sweet is assistant professor, neurosurgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and is a neurosurgeon who works with Dr. Miller at UH Case Medical Center in the functional and restorative neurosurgical area. Her other special interests include neuromodulation, DBS for movement disorders and psychiatric disorders, pain stimulation, drug delivery, traumatic brain injury and peripheral nerve disorders.

Dr. Benjamin Walter 

Dr. Benjamin Walter, UH Case Medical Center
Dr. Benjamin Walter, UH Case Medical Center

Dr. Benjamin Walter is director, Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center, and medical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at UH Case Medical Center. He is an associate professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University and is board certified in neurology. His special interests include DBS, dystonia, functional MRI, movement disorders, Parkinson’s disease and tremors.