Left to Right

About brain function shift…

Sarah has been academically superior since grade school, and she wanted to become a pediatrician since childhood. When she had a brain hemorrhage at age 12, the treatment options were limited and the road to improvement was long and challenging.

To start, the affected area was deep in the brain, and surgery was out of the question. The option to use glue to stop further bleeding was too dangerous, for the sudden stop of blood flow may cause another stroke. But we discovered a new treatment that was imported from Sweden, Gamma Knife radiation surgery.

Over the next 20 years, Sarah had 5 Gamma Knife surgeries. Each session would cause the walls of treated area to slowly swell shut and prevent blood flow over 3-5 years, eventually eliminating further bleeding. We understood that it would take years for the treatment to work. We also understood that this slow progress is preferred because it minimizes further brain damage. But what we did not know is that between the damage from hemorrhaging and the changes resulting from the Gamma Knife Radiation surgeries, the chemistry and biology of her brain was on the move. Over the years, this has caused some surprising changes, including to her personality and academic performance to say the least.

To start, Sarah, who was once superior in math and science, was unable to comprehend or process those subjects the same way. This happened during the time she was in the middle of her Pre-Med college classes, and was devastating at the time, but fascinating later.

It turned out that with blood supply dwindling to parts of the left side, Sarah’s brain was shifting some functions from the left side to the right side. Consequently, she was no longer left-brain dominant. This was evident in the changes she was experiencing. Ultimately, her interest had changed from Pediatric Neurologist to Neuro-Psychologist, perhaps from left to right brain function shift.

Interestingly, Sarah found a way to regain her math skills by tutoring math. She started by relearning and teaching at those lost level areas of math. Now she is again confident in Math and accelerating in statistics, which she needed and has been using for her Masters and PhD degrees. It is important to note that tracking and documenting changes is very helpful. Also, Neuro-Psychological evaluation and testing is essential to identify and verify any changes and deficiencies.