Jill Bolte Taylor
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist who experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. On the afternoon of this rare form of stroke (AVM), she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. It took eight years for Dr. Jill to completely recover all of her functions and thinking ability. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (published in 2008 by Viking Penguin) and was chosen as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008. She also travels the country talking about mental illness as a result of her brother's schizophrenia diagnosis.
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Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist. Her specialty was in the postmortem investigation of the human brain as it relates to schizophrenia and the severe mental illnesses. Because she has a brother who has been diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia, Dr. Taylor served for three years on the Board of Directors of the National NAMI organization (National Alliance on Mental Illness) between 1994-1997. Currently she serves as President of the Greater Bloomington Affiliate of NAMI in Bloomington, Indiana.
Because there is a long term shortage of brain tissue donated for postmortem research by individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, Dr. Taylor travels as the National Spokesperson for the Mentally Ill for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Harvard Brain Bank) located at McLean Hospital. As the Singin' Scientist, Dr. Taylor delivers this very popular keynote address titled "How To Get Your Brain To Do What You Want It To Do."
But as irony would have it, on December 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor woke up to discover that she was experiencing a rare form of stroke, an arterio-venous malformation (AVM). Two and a half weeks later, on December 27, 1996, she underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to remove a golf ball size blood clot that was placing pressure on the language centers in the left hemisphere of her brain.
It took eight years for Dr. Taylor to successfully rebuild her brain - from the inside out. In response to the swelling and trauma of the stroke, which placed pressure on her dominant left hemisphere, the functions of her right hemisphere blossomed. Among other things, she now creates and sells unique stained glass brains when commissioned to do so. In addition, she published a book about her recovery from stroke and the insights she gained into the workings of her brain. The New York Times bestselling memoir is titled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.
In May of 2008, TIME Magazine chose Dr. Taylor as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and she was the premiere guest on Oprah's Soul Series webcast. In addition, her interview with Oprah and Dr. Mehmet Oz on the Oprah Winfrey Show aired on October 21, 2008.