What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when blockage or breakage of a blood vessel interrupts the blood supply to an area of the brain. Brain cells in the immediate area usually die within a few hours. Strokes can impair speech, vision, movement or memory, depending on where in the brain it happens. Some people recover completely, while others die after very severe strokes.
Can people recover from stroke?
People who have suffered a stroke undergo physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy to help them regain independence. Scientists still don't fully understand how the brain compensates for the damage caused by stroke, although researchers have now found that adult brain cells can regenerate following damage. The ability of neurons to respond in this way is called 'plasticity', and this may help to explain the remarkable adaptability of the brain.