Archive for September, 2012

Balint Syndrome … Visual Disturbances and Stroke

My heart and books have always been connected, but ever since temporarily losing my ability to read during a transient ischemic attack, the connection has grown even stronger!

Ok, so recently  an incredibly interesting paper came out of the journal, Neurology. It was a very descriptive account of the bizarre experiences of two people with Balint Syndrome. According to the authors’ of the paper, Balint Syndrome is “a rare neurologic disorder…” and is “characterized by one or more ischemic strokes to the parietal and occipital cortices.” Reading about the extraordinary things that they experienced during their strokes and thereafter reminded me of my own TIA experience and how I temporarily lost my literacy because of it. Losing my ability to read for those few hours really shook me. It is something we learn to do at 5 years old and now it had somehow been erased from my mind. I could see words on the page and letters but I could not comprehend them. It was as if I was looking at a foreign language. After going through that experience, I have been inspired to pursue the ‘writing career’ I had put on the back burner for so long. To hear more on my own personal story, you can read the full article here. I feel quite connected to this topic, obviously, so I may write a blog on Balint Syndrome in the near future. I will absolutely keep you posted of that.

In the meantime I urge you to read the paper in Neurology and to never chalk off “something weird” that may be happening to you, it may be your body’s way of giving you a warning sign that there is a immediate threat to your health present. In the case of a stroke, the quicker you reach out for and receive medical attention, the better. I am very lucky to have had no residual effects and to have had the congenital hole in my heart fixed so that I will be less likely to have another incident in the future. I want other people to become familiar with the signs of a stroke or TIA and seek treatment promptly if they ever experience any of those warning signs.

If you would like to learn more about TIAs and strokes, visit the National Stroke Association.

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