Yes, one day I will be able to hold my brain....

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am.  I am completely geeking out.  As one who has always loved looking at our inner world, the world that lurks below the skin and only visible with a microscope or some high-end medical technology.  When I had a stroke two years ago, I couldn't resist asking for a copy of my MRI.  It took me a long time to recover to the point that I could emotionally make art using imagery from my body.  I mean really, how many times do you get to see your brain, the driver box, the center of YOU?!  Golden opportunity for an artist, right?!

The odd thing looking at this image is that I can recognize my silhouette taken from the back of my head.  Whoever sat behind me in high school could probably confirm it. You can see my brain from the back end.  It looks huge against my wobbly, skinny neck.  

And then look at this image.  Aren't the eyeballs amazing?! They look like glowing marbles in the image.  You can see how everything connects. 


I have not posted images showing the location of my stroke. I don't want you to focus on the damage, and there was considerable damage, I want you to focus on the miracle of the human body in all its complexity.  There are over 100 BILLION cells in the human brain.  No one has actually counted them and the number hasn't been supported by a peer-reviewed study, but it gives you a sense of the assumed enormity.(For more on this subject.) What strikes me as nearly as incredible is that we can even see the brain.  We are no longer limited to dissections to see inside the human body or dependent on the flat images of an x-ray.  The MRI (magnetic resonance image) makes a detailed image in such detail, that you can get a sort of three-dimensional view of the brain.  

I am geeking out as I have found several students at Washington University who are willing to collaborate with me on attempting to translate the images into code that could be used on a 3D printer to see if we can make a 3D print of my brain.  Imagine being able to hold a replica of your actual brain?! This project will require me first to learn how to operate a 3d printer.  I am hoping classes at the St. Louis Tech Shop will facilitate that hurdle and that the students can do the heavy lifting with the coding. I haven't done anything more than HTML since high school, so I am a little rusty.  A science, engineering, art collaboration!

One last thing, if you are a neurologist,  doctor of medicine or med student looking at these images, please be respectful.  I don't want to hear what you think you may see in them.  I don't need the unnecessary anxiety. I am healthy.  Sharing personal medical information is always a bit risky, but it is the only way to share with you what I am attempting to do.  And to keep from bursting with all my excitement.