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Stroke victims, and others suffering from traumatic brain injuries, have provided researchers with important insights into the brain’s structure and function. For example, much of what we know about the areas of the brain responsible for language comes from research involving patients who’ve had strokes or other injuries to specific areas of the brain, causing different types of aphasia.

Learn more about neuroscientific research involving patients with brain damage, and explore what we know about the risk factors for, effects of, and treatments for stroke. Good resources include:

TED: VS Ramachandran on your mind

National Stroke Association: Effects of Stroke

National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Stroke: Hope Through Research

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: Aphasia

Jill Bolte Taylor believes that we all could benefit from using our right hemispheres a little more often. She says, “I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe… at one with all that is. Or I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you… Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world.”

Which do you choose? And when? Reflect on your regular activities and consider which ones seem more right-brain or left-brain, as Taylor has described them. Do you think there’s a good balance? Create some type of visual display to organize and present your reflections. Do you think work or school promotes a left-brain way of being, a right-brain existence, or both?

TED: Iain McGilchrist: The Divided Brain

National Geographic: Command Central

National Geographic: Brain Photo Gallery

Scientific American: Neurological Disorders

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