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My Stroke of Insight

A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

By Jill Bolte Taylor
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

My Stroke of Insight (2008) is about Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke in her mid-thirties. These blinks detail her personal story from medical school to experiencing a stroke to learning how to walk, talk and even identify colors again.

Key idea 1 of 8

The author became a neuroanatomist to understand her schizophrenic brother.

The author, Jill Bolte Taylor, grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was actually inspired to become a neuroanatomist – a doctor who specializes in human anatomy and how the nervous system functions – by one of her brothers, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Bolte Taylor was intrigued that his view of the world was disparate from hers despite the fact that they were siblings so close in age. The way he processed information, and therefore his behavior, differed from hers.

Consequently, the author became interested in the way the human brain functions. She embarked upon intense academic training so that she could research the biological grounds for schizophrenia.

Bolte Taylor was accepted as an undergraduate at Indiana University where she studied human biology. At the same time, she got a job at the Terre Haute Center for Medical Education. It was here that she worked as a lab technician in both the Human Anatomy Lab and the Neuroanatomy Research Lab.

Later, the author joined a six-year Ph.D. program in the Department of Life Science at Indiana State University. In 1991, she received her Ph.D. and a couple of years later spent time at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Neuroscience.

Eventually, she landed her dream job at the Laboratory for Structural Neuroscience at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. The lab was run by renowned neuroscientist Dr. Francine M. Benes. Bolte Taylor admired Benes for her expertise in analyzing the postmortem brain in order to understand schizophrenia.

This is how Bolte Taylor became interested in, and began working with, the human brain. In the following blink, you’ll find out some scientific facts behind the harrowing, life-changing experience she endured when she had her stroke.

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