A Brain Scientist's Insight
To show the physical effects of a stroke on the brain, Jill has brought along three examples. The first brain (pictured on the right, with its spinal cord attached) is healthy, and Jill says the person had normal brain control. "So the right hemisphere and left hemisphere would communicate with one another," she says.
The second example is a hemorrhagic stroke in the brain stem region (pictured in the middle, illustrated using two different perspectives), which is visible because it formed a black spot. "That big black spot, if we cut that away, you can see it's deep into that brain stem. And this portion of the brain stem is for inspiration—your ability to breathe in." Jill says she can tell this person died quickly, because the cells that were damaged during the stroke were controlling the person's ability to breath.
Jill's last example (pictured on the left) is from a person who had a major stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing almost that entire hemisphere to disappear. "My guess is that this was a person who had a major stroke, ended up in a nursing home and remained in the nursing home for a while because you can live with this kind of degeneration," she says. "They would be paralyzed on the opposite side of the body and not be able to feel on the opposite side of the body, but they could probably still communicate with language."