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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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50,000 and it feels so good!

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Full Steam Ahead!

Well, when I first started this little blog about four years ago, I had no idea where it would take me. All I knew was that I liked writing, I loved science and I immensely enjoyed talking to patients (and anyone who would listen for that matter) about vision and the world around us. I am happy to announce that this blog has now over 50,000 views, a reach I never could have even imagined would be possible. I remember writing my first post and seeing it get over 20 views and being so happy. I never thought it would take me as far as it has.

I have been able to write for Scientific American Magazine’s guest blog a dozen times, became a regular blogger for Review of Optometric Business, became a Contributing Editor for Review of Optometry magazine, was featured as a guest blogger on Scientopia and won a national writing contest to become the Guest Editor-in-Chief of 20/20 magazine and have continued to write for them.

But perhaps one of the best parts about having this blog has been finally listening to that little voice inside of me, which I think all writers have, telling us to write, write and write some more. I have found inspiration in famous quotes and from bloggers, writers, photographers, artists, scientists and editors that I have met. Their words keep me going, giving me hope and encouraging me to do what I love and the rest will fall into place. Sometimes, you just have to follow your heart and go for it.

That said, despite ongoing freelance writing projects to be published elsewhere I have decided to write here at least once a week. I have been focusing so much on other channels of social media (my facebook and twitter account) that I have left my blog a bit dusty. Time to shake it off and start anew!

So, you’ll be hearing from me on a more regular basis. I will also of course always update my portfolio on here to keep you posted on what I am having published elsehwere. I have some exciting new projects coming up and am always looking for more, so feel free to contact me with science writing opportunities. I am also open to public speaking events or running continuing education classes for optometrists on science writing or blogging. I am looking to expand the number of projects I am working on and will be committing a large chunk of my time to science writing and related projects from here on out.

So thanks for the encouragement!

And I hope you continue to enjoy the ‘Science Hidden in Plain Sight’ I strive to uncover! 

Cheryl Murphy OD

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