Brain Scientist Fascinated by Own Stroke

A few months ago, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor gave a talk at TED about how the brain works. She was researching the differences in brains of normal people to those suffering from schizophrenia and other mental illness when she had a massive stroke. Being a brain researcher, Jill was fascinated of how her brain functions - motion, speech, self-awareness - shut down one by one:

... and in that moment my right arm went totally paralyzed by my side. And I realized, Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke! I'm having a stroke! And then the next thing my brain says to me is "Wow - this is so cool! This is so cool!" How many brian scientist have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out. But then it crosses my mind "I'm a very busy woman! I don't have time for a stroke!"

Here's Jill's talk about how the brain works and what happens when you get a stroke: Hit play or go to Link [Flash Video at TED] - Thanks Brandy Fisher! (Yes, this went 'round the Interweb a while ago, but it's still neat!)


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I read her book ("My Stroke of Insight"), and while it was fascinating and inspirational, it had one comment that was really uncalled for, I think. Because she was given Dilantin after the stroke and didn't like its effects, she said that she now understood why patients diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illnesses would and should refuse medication.That one made me want to pull out my hair, because she's a scientist and she KNOWS better than to make such an irresponsible comment. I work ALL DAY LONG with people who have SPMI's and just flat-out won't take desperately, desperately needed psych meds. The whole world of psychiatric drgus has changed so drastically since old-school anticonvulsants like Dilantin (or old typical antipsychotics like Thorazine, for that matter), that older drugs absolutely cannot be compared to newer ones that comparatively have so few side effects and work 1000% better. If people with SPMI's don't take meds, they won't get better. If anyone fools themselves into thinking differently, they have clearly never worked for a mental health provider (or taken the meds, either.)I am sick and tired of the ridiculous nonsense so prevalent these days that says severe and persistent mental illnesses can be treated without psychiatric medication. THEY CAN'T-- meds aren't the whole solution by any means, but they're the foundation, and they are just plain necessary, not optional. I hate to see this kind of thing in a book that is otherwise so well written and so useful.

Well, anyway, that was my rant for the day. :) It's good to get these things off our chests.
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I believe she experienced an over production of Endogenous Dimethyltryptamine due to her stroke which thus caused her visuals and feeling of the seperation of mind and body. DMT is known as the "Spirit Molecule." It's easy to see why.
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I'm so happy to see this video posted! My cousin introduced this to me a couple of month back and I have referred many people to it. It is simply astonishing and really makes you think of those questions that go unanswered...
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Haha, that's a true scientist for you; "I'm having a stroke? COOL! I wonder what'll happen when I do this..."
It's a pretty unique opportunity, though, to be able to study the effects of a stroke from a completely new angle. With the information she has at her disposal through her field, she has can see an event like this in a completely different way.
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies by Twaggies
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