Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight

Oprah has a 4-part interview of Jill Bolte Taylor available as a web cast. It originated on her XM channel. I listened to the first 2 parts in the car today (they're short, 15 minutes each I think). It's definitely worth listening to. Here's the blurb from Oprah's site and a link to where you can
watch or download it:

"Jill Bolte Taylor

When she was a young girl, brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor became
fascinated with the functions of the human brain. Jill, one of Time
magazine's 100 most influential people of 2008, has a brother with
schizophrenia, and his brain disorder led Jill to dedicate her career
to studying severe mental illnesses as a Harvard-trained
neuroanatomist. While she worked to uncover the differences between the
brains of people born with mental illnesses and those who were not,
something remarkable happened to Jill's own brain—it went silent.

On December 10, 1996, at age 37, Jill awoke with intense pain behind
her left eye—a blood vessel had exploded in the left hemisphere of her
brain, and within hours, Jill could no longer walk, talk, read or
write. She was suffering from an arteriovenous malformation—a rare type
of stroke. While Jill struggled to phone for help, she was aware that
the left hemisphere of her brain was shutting down, taking with it her
language, organizing and other analytical skills. Without the dominant
left side of her brain controlling her thoughts, Jill says her mind
went silent, leaving only the right side of the brain functioning.
Through the right side of her brain, Jill says her consciousness
shifted away from reality—and the trauma her body was suffering
through—and into a place of inner peace and Nirvana.

The experience was life-changing. Not only did Jill face years of
recovery after her stroke—and major brain surgery to remove a large
blood clot in her brain—she also discovered a better quality of life
through increased use of the right hemisphere of her brain. She's now
an artist as well as a scientist, creating anatomically correct
stained-glass replicas of brains that are sold as fine art. She's also
published My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.
The book explains in scientific detail exactly what happened during
Jill's stroke and how she recovered. It also takes a closer look at how
the right hemisphere of the brain works and how Jill says people with
normal brains can access it to find their own inner peace and improve
their quality of life and the lives of others."



  1. Did you see her TED talk? If not let me know and I'll see if I can find a link to it. Fascinating!

    As my honey's a neuroscientist (but in a different aspect than she is), I could easily see him doing this if ever he got a stroke (God forbid).

  2. I have not seen it - maybe that's the video that was on You Tube going around? I think she mentioned that. I will definitely check it out. Thanks!