Friday, May 2, 2008

Singing for Brains !

Sonia Gandhi, making way into the TIME magazine's 100 most influential people created headlines world over. But another very interesting person who made it into the elite list was Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. A very enigmatic character, she travels round the US singing and educating the masses about the beauty of the brain and the value of brain donation for research into the severe mental illnesses. She sings for brains!!
Her charming character might seem ever more special and super human, when we hear her story as published in her website (http://drjilltaylor.com/about.html):
"Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a trained and published neuroanatomist. She specializes in the postmortem investigation of the human brain. Because she has a brother who has been diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia, Dr. Taylor served for 3 years on the board of directors of the national NAMI organization (National Alliance on Mental Illness) between 1994-1997. Currently she serves as President of the Greater Bloomington Affiliate of NAMI........But as irony would have it, on December 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor woke up to discover that she was experiencing a rare form of stroke, an arterio-venous malformation (AVM). Three weeks later, on December 27, 1996, she underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to remove a golf ball size hemorrhage that was placing pressure on the language centers in the left hemisphere of her brain.For the past ten years, Dr. Taylor has been successfully rebuilding her brain - from the inside out. In response to the swelling and trauma of the stroke which placed pressure on her dominant left hemisphere, the functions of her right hemisphere have blossomed. Among other things, she now creates and sells unique stained glass brains. In addition she published a book about her recovery from stroke and the insights she gained into the workings of her brain. The book is titled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey."
Simple as you might say, this is what she says on being chosen for the honour
"What an honor it has been to be chosen as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential in the World for 2008!This all came about because I was invited to give an 18-minute presentation at the TED conference in Monterey, CA on February 27, 2008. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design - three wide-ranging subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. Every year, 1300 of the world's leading thinkers and doers gather together for four days of networking, education and exposure to new ideas. Past speakers and performers have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Paul Simon, Richard Branson, Frank Gehry, Philippe Starck, James Watson, Billy Graham, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, and Bono. However, TED is about much more than famous names. It is about passion, laughter, beauty, and ingenuity. It is about ideas capable of changing the world, and I was given 18 minutes to share my personal story and an idea that I believed was worth spreading. My experience at TED was both phenomenal and life transforming. See for yourself by visiting www.TED.com"
This surely is an inspiration.

1 comment:

Sita said...

Ms Jill Bolte Taylor has had the unique opportunity to study her own brain when she had a stroke.

The stroke resulted in a total paralysis of her left brain that elminiated her math and language skills. She started cultivating her right brain that houses non verbal and artistic skills, which soon was able to take over most of the entire task.

Few of us would have the courage, strength and determination to do that.

I truly appreciate Ms Taylor in her initiative and struggle to spread the awareness of the brain.

Let us all try and assimilate her message that if we want to survive a stroke, we should start cultivating our right brain now!!