The life in my head : From stroke to brain attack.

  • Audio

About this work


Journalist Robert McCrum reflects on his experiences suffering a stroke. Professor of Neurology Pankaj Sharma explains the reasons why strokes are the third most common cause of death in the UK. McCrum talks to Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, who explains the difference between ischemic and haemorrhagic strokes. Marsh discusses the role of brain scans and suckers in neurology. Consultant Neurosurgeon Neil Kitchen describes the anatomical elements of the brain. McCrum describes his personal experience of suffering a right-hemisphere haemorrhagic infarct aged 42. Professor Andrew Lees describes McCrum’s first days of recovery after emergency treatment and diagnosis. McCrum and Lees discuss acute stroke units and immediate clot-busting treatment. Broadcaster Chris Tarrant describes his personal experience of suffering a transient ischaemic attack in 2014. McCrum introduces the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and continues his personal account of his recovery. McCrum introduces a research study he participated in, run by Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Cathy Price, involving 3-D brain scans. Price discusses McCrum’s individual brain scan and the impact of right-hemisphere infarcts on speech and articulation. Sharma discusses the modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors for potential stroke victims, focussing on high blood pressure. Lees discusses this in relation to McCrum’s personal risk factors. McCrum describes his personal experience of immediate post-stroke recovery. McCrum interviews broadcaster Andrew Marr, who suffered a stroke in 2013. They discuss personal experiences and common misconceptions of stroke sufferers. National Clinical Director for Stroke UK Professor Anthony Rudd discusses the lack of attention given to strokes, in terms of funding and media coverage, compared to cancer and heart disease. Para-cyclist Megan Giglia discusses her personal experience of suffering a stroke aged 27. Rudd discusses the risks of strokes in younger people and a potential genetic predisposition to strokes later in life. Marr describes his personal experience of dismissing the symptoms of two transient ischaemic attacks due to his ignorance of stroke symptoms in general. Rudd discusses the F.A.S.T. campaign in relation to raising public awareness. He then discusses the future of stroke research, including genetic screening for stroke susceptibility at birth.



Physical description

1 CD (28 min.) ; 12 cm

Copyright note

Blakeway Production for BBC Radio 4.


Broadcast on 24 February 2015 on BBC Radio 4.

Creator/production credits

Produced by Melissa Fitzgerald.
Written and presented by Robert McCrum.



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