Dr. Jill Taylor was working in Harvard, department of Psychiatry. Her main research interest was the study of mental illnesses. A decade ago she experienced stroke, which lasted almost 4 hours, which she was able to 'study' in real time.
In an inspiring -yet controversial- video talk, Dr Taylor describes her stroke in stunning theatrical detail, and the way this changed her life. She also talks about some basic stuff over brain function. Well, for developers, the brain is basically a dual core processor, the right and the left hemispheres, which have strictly distinct functions. The right processor is heavily multi-threaded and its main function is to sense the world and collect data from any possible source. On the other hand, the left processor works sequentially and constantly polls the right section for info, and then organizes the huge amount of raw data that the right processor is collecting. The sense of time, individuality and logic (and also stress) seems to stem from that portion too.
The stroke hit the left hemisphere, leading to loss of time sense, a feeling of euphoria, and finally a state which Dr Taylor says resembles nirvana. Below is the video, which certainly is worth 20 minutes of your time!
[UPDATE The video seems not working..Until it gets fixed by TED.com just visit http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229]