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Stroke Smart Magazine

January/February 2009

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Brain Power
A Brain Scientist’s Recovery from a Stroke

By Megan McCraken

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor was 37 years old and a healthy brain scientist at Harvard Medical School. But, within the course of four hours, her mind completely shut down. She could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. A rare form of stroke left her a selfproclaimed “infant in a woman’s body.”

It took eight years of dedicated work, but Taylor was able to completely recover. She is now teaching at the medical school level, and her body is completely functional. Since her stroke, she has become a powerful spokesperson for stroke survivors and brain recovery.

In February 2008, Taylor was invited to give a presentation at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference in Monterey, Calif. Every year, 1,300 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, Jane Goodall, Al Gore and Bono. Her presentation was posted online at TEDTalks and was listed in the top ten TEDTalks of all time as of June 2008.

As a result of her inspiring work in the field of stroke and brain recovery, Taylor has been rewarded with a very full and exciting life. Her book, My Stroke of Insight, has become a New York Times bestseller. Her memoir details her recovery, provides recommendations for stroke survivors, and shares valuable insight on the brain.

In May of 2008, TIME Magazine chose Taylor as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She was also the premiere guest on Oprah’s Soul Series webcast and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show last October.

Taylor’s inspiring story carries on as she continues to give back to the stroke community - sharing information, spreading awareness and paving a path of hope and understanding for stroke survivors.


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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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