SOURCE: Vision Media

September 16, 2008 03:04 ET

Current Health News: Vision.org Interview With Brain Scientist

Brain Scientist's Insights Show Path to Peace Is Only a Thought Away

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - September 16, 2008) - Most brain scientists study their subject from the outside looking in. In 1996, however, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had the opportunity to explore from the inside out when she experienced and recovered from a serious stroke. In a current health news interview with Vision.org, Bolte Taylor discusses how brain function and neuroplasticity go hand in hand to allow us to establish harmony both in our lives and in our relationships.

"We essentially have two very different brains in our head," Bolte Taylor explains in an article entitled, "In the Garden of the Mind." "Wouldn't it be nice if we really had an understanding of how to capitalize on the whole organism and recognize when we are skewed more toward one type of thinking as opposed to another?"

In 1981 Roger W. Sperry won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work concerning the differences in function between the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. Since the 1960s, Sperry and many others added much to our understanding of the different characteristics of the "left and right minds." These researchers made their discoveries by looking from the outside in, examining patients with localized brain injuries or those with the hemispheres surgically disconnected allowing for what is termed "split-brain" research.

Dr. Jill's stroke effectively silenced her left hemisphere, creating her own split-brain subject.

In her bestselling book, "My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey," she writes, "When I experienced the hemorrhage and lost my left hemisphere language center cells that defined my self, those cells could no longer inhibit the cells in my right mind. As a result, I have gained a clear delineation of the two very distinct characters cohabiting my cranium."

Over an 8-year period of recovery, Dr. Jill lived in her right mind, a mind unburdened with time and language but rich with sensation, intuition and a feeling of oneness with the universe. As her left hemisphere healed and what she calls her "ego mind" returned, she learned that she could consciously evaluate the self-centered nature of the left and choose to change her relationships to others and the world.

"We have the ability to focus our minds on things that we want to focus on," she told Vision.org science editor Dan Cloer. Dr. Jill's experience shows that our mental processing is not hardwired. We can choose to change our minds.

"If our mind is unconsciously focused on something that we don't want to think about," she continues, "all we have to do is choose to think about something else. We have the ability and the power to choose what we want to think about."

"My Stroke of Insight" has been on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. Bolte Taylor was featured in Time Magazine's Top-100 most influential people in 2008. "What a wonderful gift this stroke has been in permitting me to pick and choose who and how I want to be in the world. Before the stroke, I believed I was a product of this brain and that I had minimal say about how I felt or what I thought. Since the hemorrhage, my eyes have been opened to how much choice I actually have about what goes on between my ears."

About Vision:

Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine, visit their web site at http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/default.aspx.

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    Edwin Stepp
    www.vision.org
    Vision Media Productions
    476 S. Marengo Avenue
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