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mike-krupp eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The authors above have described the stroke.  The effects of a stroke can be mild, severe, or fatal; if the person survives, he can show mild to severe disability, or perhaps none at all.

A stroke can occur anywhere in the brain, so any bodily function can be affected by the death of the part of the brain responsible for it.  For instance, one entire side of the body can be completely or partly paralyzed, while the rest of the body is healthy.  Or, the person's speech can be damaged -- in a variety of ways -- while his movement is unimpaired.  Similarly for vision: the sight of one eye can be destroyed, or the ability to recognize an object (for example, to read) can be damaged.

Often, a stroke can damage areas of the brain responsible for cognition,  The person might be unable to talk, or unable to understand speech, or unable to recognize faces, or unable to remember the names of things.

Psychologists and neurologists can (and do) use strokes as "probes" of how the brain functions.  If a person is unable to recognize faces, but is otherwise healthy, and if the location of the damaged brain tissue can be determined, the investigator can infer that that specific area of the brain is involved in that specific part of cognition.

Sometimes the neurological damage done by a stroke can be ameliorated using "neural plasticity":  the ability of the nervous system to find a way around a difficulty.  This requires a good therapist, a lot of practice by the person, and a great deal of patience.

For more information, you might see the reference below.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During a stroke, blood flow is blocked to a part or parts of the brain for a period of time.  This can be caused by a blood clot (most commonly), low blood sugar, heart problems or problems with circulation.  If the blood is not flowing to the brain for more than a minute or two, brain asphyxia - the denial of oxygen flow to crucial brain tissue - sets in and brain damage can occur.  It is very common to see left side paralysis occur, where the features of the face begin to droop on the left side and they are unable to move their left arm or leg. 

If they can receive treatment quickly enough, then most of the long term damage can be avoided and a full recovery is possible, but quick treatment is essential.  The use of blood thinners and sometimes surgery is required to restore and guarantee consistent blood flow to the brain, and sometimes 911 will advise people take an aspirin while waiting for the ambulance if other blood thinners are not available.

william1941 | Student

The brain is one of the most important organs in our body and for it to function properly it requires a constant supply of blood to supply oxygen and glucose. A stroke is the disruption of blood flow to the brain causing damage to cells and their death. The blockage of blood is caused when arteries to the brain become narrow due to build up of cholesterol, plaque and blood or when the artery ruptures due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent strokes. Those who show signs of a stroke should seek immediate medical attention so that further complications can be avoided.

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