Great-great grandstroke

Neurobiology's Coursera Final Project by Sferrebenedicto

Asking again

I've always heard one story from my grandfather and his brother and sister: their own grandfather, a.k.a my great-great-grandfather, suffers a stroke when he was something around 40 years old (1920 aprox).

They told me that, althought he was badly injured, he recovered partially and he was able to raise his grandchildren when their parent (my great-grandfather died young) and he had to remain alone with three children while his wife and daughter went to work.

With this course I became more intrigued in what happened to him. And I started to ask my great-uncles again about him.

The stroking twenties

It seems all started one day during the Roaring Twenties. He was returning from work whe he started to feel izzy and very weird. He fainted and his family called the doctors.

They said he had suffered a cerebral stroke (a feridura in catalan, in those years). They didn't know how well he will recover or even if he will recover at all.

He remained in bed, not responding, not talking. Years went by. A lot of money was spend on behalf of his health.

Raise and talk

One day, two long years later, in the presence of the doctor, his wife asked him again to call their daughter out loud. But this day was different. He did it. "Nena!", he shouted.

From this remarkable day, he started to improve step by step. He was able to respond, to speak, to move, to eat alone althought his left side of the body remained paralyzed forever more (he could feel sensations from these parts of the body, though).

Past forensic

Now, given what I've seen in this MOOC's lectures, I whink I can reconstruct what happened in my second-great-grandfather brain.

I think he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that began in the right side of his brain, specifically in his motor cortex. This right motor cortex was severely damaged (beyond recovery) and this could explain why he always had his left side "frozen".

The hemorrhage spread to other areas of the forebrain that were, then, affected. But they were not so much damaged as the others and, so, they recovered after two years. I assumed that this damage spread to both sides of the brain given that for two years he was completely paralyzed and that he was unable to speak and, though, he will have had his Broca's area affected (and this area is mainly found in the left side).

Travel through generations

I know that this «final project» will not change anything, but it's a great thing to be able to understand something that happened nearly 100 years ago and that has had such a profound effect in my family. If he had not suffered the stroke, he will have worked and he will not had raised my grandfather and granduncles and, maybe, he will not have developed such a big and deep love for him. Such deep that his figure has traveled through generations until now, more than 100 years from his birth.