Italian woman prepares traditional stuffed olives while undergoing brain surgery

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A 60-year-old Italian woman made 90 stuffed olives in under an hour during a brain operation to remove a tumor.

The tumor was located in the patient’s left temporal lobe, the area of the brain dedicated to the control of language and complex movements of the right side of the body.

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The woman remained conscious and prepared the traditional snack, called olive ascolane, which, “allows us to monitor the patient while intervening in brain functions and allows us to calibrate our actions,” explained Dr. Roberto Trignani, head of the Neurosurgery Department at the Azienda Ospedali Riuniti in Ancona.

“It went very well,” Trignani said at the end of the complex operation which lasted 2.5 hours and required 11 different medical staff including surgeons, a psychologist, and several nurses.


In the last five years, Trignani has performed around 60 operations with patients “awake” and engaged in other activities, although this is the first time stuffed olives have been involved. Other unusual activities have included playing the violin and the trumpet.




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