By Tina Jordan
Updated October 19, 2007 04:00 AM
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Oliver Sacks’ curiosity has led him to some odd places, as evidenced in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Now the neurologist explores the brain and music in Musicophilia. He describes a surgeon who’s struck by lightning, then becomes literally possessed by music; people — including his mother — who suffer musical hallucinations; Parkinson’s patients frozen in their disease who come to life when a song is played; Alzheimer’s patients who retain their ability to play the piano. Why do the brain’s neural abilities involving music remain vibrant long after others have diminished? Sacks isn’t sure, but his case studies fascinate nonetheless. B+