Ted Talk: Stroke of insight

This is one of those blow-your-mind TED talks. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, had a stroke. But it wasn’t an ordinary stroke. Because of her training, and her insight into the way the brain works, she actually watched – calmly and with curiosity – as her brain functions shut down, one by one. Not only that, but she felt she attained a new level of consciousness beyond left brain/right brain – and said it was lovely. Totally fascinating.

How about you – have you seen any TED talks that you found fascinating? If so, I’d love to know. It’s great if they’re about medical stuff – but I’m interested to hear about non-medical ones too.

Speaking of sleep…

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it over and over: sleep is important. But here are a couple things I ran across recently that really made me stop and think.

1. This podcast

Here are the podcast notes if you’re interested but don’t want to watch the whole thing. His most recent book, “Why We Sleep,” goes into more depth but is still a really easy read (or listen – the audiobook is good).

Lots of interesting facts, way beyond the typical “turn your phone off an hour before bed” stuff. For example: the World Health Organization has classified shift work as a probable carcinogen, based on the overwhelming research evidence that insufficient sleep is linked to significantly increased risk of certain types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast). Yikes.

Here’s a short video he put together that sort of summarizes all the bad things that happen if you don’t get enough sleep:

2. This Ted talk

I think I may have mentioned this Ted talk (or maybe just the discovery itself) in Histology last year when we talked about the brain. I ran across it again recently and it’s just so flipping cool. Also scary, because it’s become almost a badge of honor to get by with little sleep. You got 5 hours of sleep? Yeah, well I only got 3.