Can You Rebuild My Brain? (2018) Movie Script

This programme contains scenes of
surgery from the very start
My name is Lotje Sodderland.
And my brain is not normal.
At the age of 34,
it was permanently damaged by
a stroke, that almost killed me.
It fundamentally changed me
and the way I see the world.
It also left me fascinated with the
pioneers at the cutting edge of the
science that saved my life.
I'm going to start making a track
into the brain.
This is the first time in the world
that people can do mind control.
It may still be in its infancy,
but neuroscience is advancing
quickly into uncharted waters.
We know so little about how the
brain works,
we can't explain a single sensation,
or movement or thought or emotion
in any really comprehensive,
fundamental way.
And then they said,
"We're going to do a stimulation
on you," and I could just hear
all of the feelings that I never
could before.
And pulse again.
So I want to find
out if we fully
understand the risks of trying
to fix a broken brain like mine.
Until five years ago...
I led a busy,
exciting life.
I worked at an advertising agency
as a producer of, erm...
um, branded content.
I had a really active social life
so I was always with friends and out
having fun. And I didn't even like
sleeping, I found sleeping really,
like, wasteful of my time.
Then one night, all that changed
when I suffered a stroke
and nearly died.
I went to bed as normal.
I just remember waking up...
..with a sort of excruciating pain
in my head,
but it wasn't a headache,
it was a different kind of pain so I
was kind of coming in and out of
being conscious.
And I remember looking at my phone
and I knew that it could help me,
this tool, but I didn't know
how it worked.
Then I lost consciousness again
and somebody else called 999.
Emergency surgery removed about half
a cup of blood
that had leaked into my brain
from a burst vessel.
After two days in an induced coma,
I woke up in a world
I didn't recognise.
I didn't know where I was, but it
wasn't like I didn't know who I was.
It was like kind of being
and your body being sort of taken
over by... a new life.
I'm alive.
But I'm not dead.
I had no sense of a past
or a future.
My memory had sort of, evaporated.
Matilda is erm my...
Nief... Niece.
Today, the damage done to my brain
means that my experience of life
is intensified.
Noises seem louder...
colours seem brighter.
My most basic human emotions like
love and fear are heightened.
Although I can write,
my ability to read has virtually
Diagnosis, right inferior...
My thoughts are faster
than my speech.
So internally,
there is a lot more going on than
I am able to express, er externally.
Thoughts become all
swirly and whirly.
So five years on...
I have become, kind of accustomed
to my new life.
You know, I don't really expose
myself to loud noises.
I kind of lead a monastic, existence,
really quiet, I don't..
you know,
I spend a lot of time alone.
If the damage to my brain has left
me such a different person,
I want to know, are we fully aware
of the impact that manipulating
malfunctioning brains like mine,
can have on the very essence
of who we are?
I've become very preoccupied with
the human brain, how it works,
what it does for us.
And also if there is a difference
between the human mind
and the human brain and
how the two interact.
To begin my exploration,
I want to first
understand what damage
my own brain suffered
after my stroke.
Professor Cathy Price is
one of Britain's most
prominent neuroscientists,
specialising in the
relationship between strokes
and the brain's ability
to read and write.
You've had a look at my brain scans,
haven't you?
I have, yes. Have you seen your
brain scans?
I have, yes, many times.
These are some slices through
the three-dimensional brain image.
We call the area of the brain
that is damaged, the
lesioned area, so lesion,
and your lesion is quite complex
looking so it's
probably very, unique.
We can see these white areas areas here
where the bleeding must have damaged
your brain and it
shows us that you've
got damage in the white
matter pathways,
which connect the visual inputs that
are coming in the back of the head
and they connect up to the language
areas either this way or this way
and you've got damage
to the pathways that
are coming up towards
the angular gyrus,
which is a classic language area,
but it's still very rare.
Everybody is interested in it
because it's so fascinating.
I see things in a very different way
and I actually really like it.
Are you able to describe
what it looked like?
Right at the beginning,
everything was just so strange.
The whole of experience was so heightened,
it was just like being...
reborn in a strange new world.
From what I understand,
you initially had difficulty with
your writing and then you've learned
over a year or so to get it back.
Suddenly one day, it was like a
spirit had entered my hand and was
writing in my old handwriting and
was writing what I was thinking,
but I was looking at the words
and wasn't able to visually
recognise what
- I was writing.
- So is it very surprising to you?
It was the best surprise ever.
- Yes.
- Yeah, it was amazing cuz
the sudden sense of freedom
and expression,
being able to express, erm, even
though I wasn't able to...
- read.
- It wasn't a two-way conversation!
Could it be that, there are certain
really fundamental aspects
of experience, that simply can't be
measured and quantified
in, in this scientific way?
Absolutely. There's just too much
information for us to learn.
The brain is so complex.
There are many people engaged in
finding out tiny little things,
which tell us enough to be moving
forward and to be publishing,
you know, hundreds of thousands
of new papers and new discoveries.
Well, despite all of that
exciting information,
it still doesn't tell us exactly
how is it that you're
able to speak or
how is it that you're able to write?
100 billion neurons,
each connected to tens of thousands
of others
all firing electric pulses
between each other and on to parts
of the body.
It feels like we've only just
scratched the surface
of how this incredible
organ functions.
How can anyone attempt to try to fix
malfunctioning parts of the brain
without worrying about the risk?
I'm hoping to find part
of the answer in Bristol,
from someone who is trusting
the latest advances in neuroscience,
to fix one of the few parts of
the brain that we do know
something about.
- Hi.
- Nice to meet you.
- Really nice to meet you.
- Thanks so much.
- Come in.
- Thank you.
Retired nurse, Deirdre
Wild was diagnosed
with Parkinson's, 12 years ago.
- Watch your step.
- Thank you.
Some of the nerve cells deep inside
her brain that produce a chemical
called dopamine, are dying.
They help control her movements.
- This is difficult.
- I know.
- This thing.
- And as a result,
her life has been taken over
by involuntary body spasms.
So what kind of things are the most
challenging day-to-day?
I don't know, I've often found it
very difficult
to describe Parkinson's.
Or at least my particular form of.
Umm, the best way of describing it
for me is, it's a sort of invasion.
My body feels invaded,
my mind feels invaded.
- I actually had a stroke myself.
- Oh, gosh.
When I was 34.
- Oh.
- So erm, I think it's partly the
sense of self or the identity
that you kind of are
suddenly confronted with
and the loss of it, you know?
Having survived something like that.
You've survived so well.
- Thank you!
- You're amazing, yes.
It's all hidden. You
can't see inside
there, it's all a bit of a mess.
Yes, but nevertheless,
it's quite an achievement to be able
to preserve the real core self.
Um, I'm trying to hang onto me.
Because that's what it was.
That sounds so cosy, a bakehouse.
To try to preserve the person
she feels she still is,
she's chosen to have radical
It's called deep brain stimulation
and means a surgeon drilling
into the very centre of her brain.
He'll implant electrodes,
which should override her lack of
dopamine and ease her symptoms.
The technique has been
around for 20 years,
but Deirdre's will be a
ground-breaking procedure,
using a computer-guided robot.
How do you feel about...
about the middle of your head
being drilled into?
I think it's quite frightening,
really, if I'm honest.
I do think about the risk,
but it's still worth it,
because ahead for me,
there is really nothing else.
- All right?
- OK.
It's the day of Deirdre's
ground-breaking surgery
to try and rectify the symptoms
of her Parkinson's Disease.
All right, switch up.
Shot scratch and blood.
Neurosurgeon Stephen Gill,
who pioneered this new technique,
has located the parts in her brain
that control her movement.
These blue bits are called
the subthalamic nuclei,
and it's here that Stephen
plans to implant electrodes.
They will regulate
the impulsive movements
caused by her brain's
lack of dopamine.
His unique computer system
has even created a route map
through her brain
for his robot to follow.
So it's right in the middle?
It's right in the middle
of the clockwork.
We're going from up here to
somewhere down,
almost between the eyes.
- So accuracy is...
- Accuracy is critically important.
I'm going to start making
a track into the brain.
I'm struck by how small
and helpless Deirdre looks
on the operating table,
surrounded by tubes and machines.
Yet her desire to maintain
the essence of who she is,
is so great, that she's willing
to let someone drill a hole
into the centre of her brain.
Is the robot telling you
how far in you can go?
Yes. The robot knows all the
measurements I need to go to.
So it's guiding this very fine probe,
I'm going to pass down
to the target.
This... is going quite a long way in.
I'm going to let it wheel its way
down, so it's dissecting its way.
It should now be just going
into that nucleus, now.
It's only five years ago that
my brain was being operated on,
so watching Deirdre's surgery
isn't easy.
As Steven drills into
the very core of her brain,
I'm reminded how awe-inspiring
this science is.
It's like he's diving into her soul
to bring back the person
she was before.
- So, this is the electrode.
- Mm-hm.
Don't get too close to it.
And now I'm just pushing down,
putting down the electrodes...
Going down to the target.
To see surgery and to see drilling
and bits coming out and going in...
..and trust is really fundamental.
I mean, but I also think
You wouldn't do something like this,
unless you had no other option.
So, this is the generator.
In five weeks' time, Dierdre's
electrodes will get switched on,
and only then will she know
if the stimulation has worked.
Deep brain stimulation
doesn't reverse the disease.
It overrides many aspects of it
and makes people quite functional.
Deirdre might be able to reduce
the involuntary movements
that are such a nuisance for her.
And, erm, we will find out
in a few weeks.
Performing DBS with a robot
to computer interface,
is unique to this hospital.
It is very, very new,
so, obviously, I hope that
the outcome will be
a really positive one for her
to have made it worthwhile.
I know how earth shattering
losing your identity
to a malfunctioning brain
can be.
After my brain haemorrhage
five years ago,
I felt like a very different person.
I could write but not read
and was almost incapable of
processing even simple information.
We're not sure what's going to
happen today.
I think in the...
me and you...
Face, or something completely
different, we're just not sure.
Desperate to reclaim
some of the old me,
I also agreed to some cutting-edge
I underwent a series of tests
using electric pulses
to fire up the parts of my brain
responsible for reading.
But I developed a problem.
That just went flash.
That's deeply unpleasant.
It didn't do that before.
This is new.
COMPUTER: 'Strike'. Strike.
'Winner'. Winner.
Run through that block
and I'll get Jenny down.
- Next one?
- Just hold it down.
- Sure?
- Yeah.
The treatment had to be stopped when
I experienced convulsive seizures,
leaving me needing medication
for the rest of my life.
The whole episode
was so frightening,
I've decided to let
my broken brain... be.
I just felt,
I felt elated to be alive.
Also, people kept telling me,
you're really lucky to be alive.
And somehow that was sinking in.
That information was sinking in.
The experience has left me wondering
if science really knows
what it's playing with, when trying
to fix the parts of our brain
that are less tangible -
the parts that make us human.
To answer this, I've come to America
to meet one of the pioneers
in her field, Dr Lindsay Oberman.
For the last ten years,
she's been conducting research
with people on the autistic spectrum.
to see if she can unlock
our most human of emotions -
- Hi, Lotje. Nice to meet you!
- It's so good to meet you.
Come on back.
Lindsay taught neurology
at Harvard University
and is considered one of the world's
leading experts on autism.
Although, I'm anxious,
because her methods remind me
of the treatment that I had.
So, this device is a transcranial
magnetic stimulator.
So, transcranial literally means
just through the head.
Magnetic, because it's a magnetic
field discharged from the machine.
And stimulator,
because it activates the brain.
And what happens is,
when there's pulses,
when I press the button
that says "Pulse" a...
..very rapid magnetic field
is discharged from the coil,
and, it's going to activate the part
of the brain that it's sitting over.
Can I actually have
a glass of water?
- How are you?
- I'm OK.
I felt a bit...
I felt a bit of a wobble.
Like a... yeah...
I get very anxious around these...
..erm, magnetic... machines.
I felt this kind of...
like... sound disappeared,
so quite faint... I felt, like, faint.
And I wobble. Like, I'm shaking.
Is that because you relate it to what
you had, the treatment that you had?
I think it's my
greatest fear is to have
another erm, convulsive seizure.
It's an anxiety that I've been
trying to... overcome.
So, being around...
I mean, I'm really interested
in learning more about it,
but that requires me
to be around these...
these machines and this technology.
- Yeah, that's fine.
- Hi.
Hi. Are you feeling okay?
- Yeah.
- OK.
Sorry. I just felt a bit wobbly
for a moment.
No problem. This room gets
a little warm too,
so let us know and that's fine,
we can take breaks whenever...
- Whenever you need to.
- OK.
We're just going to go
right back here.
Today, Lindsay's working
with 14-year-old Nathan,
who was diagnosed as being on the
autistic spectrum two years ago.
- Hey. How are you feeling, Nate?
- Very good.
We're going straight back
into this room here.
I have erm, problems
with social interaction.
Sometimes, when there's
a schedule change that can...
..disrupt what I normally would do.
I mean, something as simple
as sitting in a different seat
at dinner can bother me a lot.
So, we'll get you comfortable
in this chair.
- All right.
- So, just relax.
As part of her research, Lindsay
is testing Nathan's reactions
to short magnetic pulses.
And pulse again.
Delivered to the outer layer
of the brain,
which plays a key role in the basic
skills that help us function
in society.
You're doing great.
Like being able to interpret
what other people are thinking.
And that's it. You doing OK?
- Yeah.
- Awesome, awesome.
I was wondering how that felt,
I don't know.
My mind was somewhat blank.
- Was it?
- Yeah.
- Was it pleasant or was it...?
- It was...
It's like travelling
to another dimension
because it Ca.., calms you down a lot.
A lot of people say they, sort of...
it's almost like a meditative,
type of state.
That they, kind of, relax, zone out.
Erm, I've heard that from other
participants as well.
- Wow. Thank you for that.
- You're welcome.
When there's this exciting,
kind of, futuristic, idea
of manipulating and augmenting
your brain,
Erm, you probably overlook the fact
that we're doing something
really radical with a really core
element of your, body.
So, you're going to go head out.
Lindsay's been researching
transcranial magnetic stimulation
on subjects like Nathan
for over a decade.
But she's acutely aware
that using a machine
to try and switch on human emotion
can have its risks.
We've had participants tell us
that following the stimulation
they, noticed that their
processing of emotions
- were enhanced or different.
- Wow.
So, sort of, enhanced awareness,
in a way?
Yes. Yeah, yeah.
We had another woman who had
a, sort of, negative response
thinking about all the things
that she may have missed
or misinterpreted in her life
prior to the stimulation.
It makes you think about,
what are we doing in the brain
and what is the consequence on
an emotional level, you know,
in terms of affecting people's lives
and their perceptions of other
people following the simulation.
And there was another volunteer that
Lindsay suggested I should meet,
who embodied her concerns.
A man whose response to the
stimulation proved, life-changing.
It was a world of anger
and fear and jealousy
and it just ate me up.
Now I realise that my autism,
really, in many ways,
was a protective shield.
Eight years ago,
scientists in Boston
exploring the impact of transcranial
magnetic stimulation, on the brains
of people with autism, had what they
thought was a eureka moment.
You know, you are the first person
to ever come and visit me
with gold shoes. That is absolutely
a distinctive thing.
We have never, ever had that here.
I hope you like them.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's very cool.
Dr Lindsay Oberman met John Robison,
the owner of a classic car garage,
when he volunteered for her project.
We have a Jaguar, we have a MG.
After just one session stimulating
the area of John's brain
that controls empathy and emotion,
he experienced an awakening
that transformed his life.
Yeah, these are some very pretty
and elegant automobiles.
These would go very well
with your shoes. Absolutely.
In your early life,
did you feel that there was
an emotional disconnect
in the brain?
So that's an important thing.
I grew up with autism in the 1960s,
erm, at a time when...
autistic people who spoke, as I do,
weren't recognised as autistic.
Someone like me who can't read
your body language or your face
or any social cues from you,
you could smile at me and I couldn't
tell if you think I'm sweet
and you'd like to
get to know me better
or you think I just broke
your prize vase
and you just are really,
really mad, you know?
I always had the sense,
that I was different
and less than everyone else.
I was a second-class kid.
And I grew up to feel like I was
a second-class... grown-up.
Despite his emotional disconnect,
John married and started a family.
But throughout his adult life,
he always felt
there was something missing.
Then, age 51, he met Lindsay.
So, can you describe, erm the TMS?
What was it like and what, what happened?
The clicking stopped,
the fan went off,
and I realised half an hour
had passed.
And it was like I was in,
just a meditative state.
And I didn't feel any different.
A little disappointed,
I felt a little bit like
I had a foolish expectation.
And I go out and get in the car
and start driving home.
And, erm...
and I turned on erm the music in the car
and it was this band singing a song
called You Are The Words.
And I could just...
just hear,
all of the feelings
of the singers.
And, I realised the art of it,
you know?
And I never could before.
And, erm, and you know...'s been eight years...
..and I still feel that.
And I can't go to movies any more
cos I'm overwhelmed
by the emotion,
and I can't read in a book,
like, a story of a child
being hurt or something.
And, erm, of course, nobody
expected that what happen to me.
And, erm, and it's really... really has changed me a lot.
So, are you glad that you did it?
I imagined, I had this, like,
crazy fantasy
that there was this world of
beauty and sweetness and light
and if only I could see it,
I wouldn't have that disability
any more.
And when I could see it,
it was a world of anger and fear
and jealousy and angst,
and it just ate me up.
Um, my marriage unravelled
and I got divorced and I...
I almost killed myself.
Now I realise that my, autism,
really in many ways,
was a protective shield.
For me...
..the experience
after those stimulations,
it was a very, very rough ride.
And um, yes, I am more insightful,
I can do more things,
I can take part in groups, I can
I can talk to people like you
with confidence.
But it came at a cost.
It blows my mind that just one short
session using a magnetic pulse
could switch on
John's most human emotions
and transform the essence
of who he is.
It just shows how vulnerable
and malleable
the brain can be to manipulation.
After my stroke, some pathways
between the billions of neurons
in my brain, were disrupted.
I've come to the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology
to meet a team who are trying
to unlock the mystery
of what each of these pathways does.
Working with a ground-breaking
technique called optogenetics,
Ed Boyden is the man
leading the project
and is tipped to win a Nobel Prize
for his work.
- I wanted to ask you about your
work with optogenetics. - Sure.
Could you, explain
what optogenetics are
and how you got into that world
and what you're doing with it?
We launched optogenetics.
It controlled brain circuitry.
And in particular,
the high-speed electrical pulses
that neurons generate when they're
computing. So, how can you do that?
Well there are lots of ways to try
to induce brain activity,
magnetic pulses, ah drugs.
But you can't aim magnetism.
Drugs are too slow.
So what we decide to do, was to
make neurons sensitive to light
and then you could aim light at
them and turn them on or off.
And the way we made them
sensitive to light,
was we took molecules
from the natural world.
basically photosynthetic
molecules from bacteria
and all sorts of other critters.
They convert light
into electrical energy. Wow.
And so we borrowed those from nature,
we installed them into the neurons,
then shine light on the neuron,
those molecules convert the
light into an electrical sign
and the electrical signal
makes the neuron go.
And so then we can dial in
information to the brain.
We can upload sensations like
visual inputs or auditory inputs.
You can make the brain more anxious,
you can make it more calm.
You can also trigger a memory
to be recalled,
- or even trigger it to be forgotten.
- Really?!
So you can pinpoint exactly
the sites in the brain
that drive emotions that are
positive versus negative.
You can even cause memories
to be recalled
long after people thought
they were forgotten.
What has been the most extreme?
Well, I think this group at Cal Tech
that found a cluster of cells
that, when they activated them
with light,
mice would attack whatever was next
to them, even a rubber glove.
I thought that was a really
stunning study
because, it suggest that things
like violence and aggression
could be de-constructed
into neural circuits.
And so this highlights, I think, how
you can start to use these tools
to tease apart very...
even philosophically challenging,
ethically interesting kinds of concepts.
This is a zoomed in
part of the hippocampus.
Oh, wow.
So far, Ed's team has only
experimented on mice,
But... he thinks memory manipulation
will soon move on to humans.
So what's the, kind of, ultimate
potential of optogenetics,
in terms of what the future
might look like?
My hope is that with optogenetics, we
can really start to turn on and off
all these different brain circuits
and precisely understand how
they contribute to behaviours.
Things like Post-traumatic
Stress Disorder,
where, negative memories really can
impair a person's functioning
and make them even too terrified
to leave their room
and go out into the world.
And I think that within the next
five or ten years,
I wouldn't be surprised if some
of those enter clinical trials.
This is... you're speaking
my language, kind of.
Thank you so... That really...
I've got goose bumps.
- That makes me so excited
to hear that. - Great.
I know it's a long way off,
but meeting Ed makes me think
that when we finally understand
the inner workings of the brain,
as well as we understand
every other organ,
we really could play God.
It made me think a lot about
my stroke and how
that's affected, you know...
one, kind of, major thing is fear.
Like I have this, problem with,
kind of, deep-rooted fear
that I haven't really been able
to eradicate,
even though I have tried
and I have made some progress.
But I was thinking, imagine
if I could remove that memory
that's so deeply embedded and
that is causing me some problems,
because I, kind of, get overwhelmed
with these panic attacks and things.
This, this felt really exciting
and expansive.
But... also a little bit alarming
because you start to think about
the ultimate potential for that.
You know, what if it was
available to everybody?
If you were in combat,
you were able to become
like a killing machine
because you have no moral compass.
You know, there's that same
potential in this, you know...
..bleeding edge, edge technology
For brain, erm, editing.
By exploring the possibilities and
the risks neuroscience is taking,
as it tries to understand more about
the human brain,
I've met some incredible pioneers.
But trying to grapple with the
implications of their work
is like unravelling the plot of
a sci-Fi movie.
I think my brain hasn't worked
this hard since my stroke.
You know, if you speak to a
it's like they're talking a
different language.
They have their own language.
Sometimes, it feels like you're
Chinese or something.
It's really difficult.
But I think it's fun that I have...
..a dodgy brain, and that my dodgy
is trying to understand how this
incredibly complicated, delicate
thing works.
I'm witnessing a brave new world of
that both scares me and fills me
with incredible hope
about the possibilities for helping
people in the future.
But I've also seen the huge risks
associated with manipulating the
inner workings of our brain.
One group of pioneering scientists
at the University of Minnesota
have developed an incredible way to
harness the brain's power,
without any surgery at all.
Hi. Welcome.
They have built an interface between
mind and machine
that has the power to
transform thousands of lives.
He's going to show
to you how he can use
a mind to try to control
this robotic arm.
So, just by thinking about that.
So you can see only just a cap, we
don't have to put a brain implant,
a chip inside the brain.
- Yeah.
- So, in this experimental project,
Brad is not using any of his muscles.
He's only thinking about that.
Brad is one of Professor Heath's
who's been working with him for
months developing this technology.
So, you see this arm is moving and
is being controlled
by Brad's mental control signal.
This ground-breaking innovation
by reading the electricity
by the neurons in Brad's brain when
he thinks about moving his body.
His thoughts are then processed
by computer
and converted into movement.
It's mind control.
That is amazing!
So, the mind has the same mechanical
potential as the body.
That's correct. That's correct.
I'm just imagining somebody
who's paralysed,
suddenly gaining independence
through such a machine.
Brad, how do you think it to move?
Like, do you think in, in words?
At the very beginning, when I was
learning how to do this,
I was imagining purely an action of
my own body.
Now, after a lot of practice,
it's kind of been ingrained to
more the abstract.
Right, left, up, down.
But you've still got to kind of come
back to the motor imagination
as the fundamental of this entire
So that's really where
the secret is.
You're multitasking here.
- Yes, actually.
- Very impressive!
Yeah, you know, at some point,
these actions kind of become
ingrained in your mind, so
this is, this pretty fun, actually.
- Is it? - Yeah,
- Yeah.
To our knowledge,
this is the first time in the world
that people can use a non-invasive
technology to do mind control...
they control such a sophisticated task
of a robotic arm in a
three-dimensional space.
This is amazing, Bin.
Thank you. Yeah, it's very exciting.
- It's incredible.
- We feel the same way.
Actually, we did not report this
multitasking, which you saw today.
He's talking to you,
but he can control robotic arm to
do all the tasks at the same time.
I think it's incredible.
This ephemeral thing called the mind
is able to... physically move
this big, clunky machine.
I started really liking the computer
that was able to help,
you know, in my
imagination, this guy
who's lost all his
physical abilities.
It's a really moving thing,
My journey to find out what's
possible in the outer reaches
of the brain-fixing world
has been, by turns,
exhilarating and alarming.
If we can choose to add and take
away elements of ourselves,
who will we become?
It's been five weeks since Deidre's
deep brain stimulation.
So I've come back to Bristol
to see what her future holds.
Ohhh, I love them.
Today, she'll have the electrodes
implanted inside her brain
switched on,
in the hope it will relieve her
involuntary movements.
- How are you? Good, how are you?
- It's good to see you.
- Nice to see you.
- You're looking really well.
- How are you feeling?
- Fine.
INDISTINC - Hey, Peter. How are you?
- Good, how are you?
So, how are you feeling?
- Pretty good.
- Yeah?
Yeah, I've been a bit tired,
but that's about all.
I can honestly say I've had no
headaches, or
feelings or anything.
I'm a little apprehensive.
- Are you?
- Just a bit, but...
Shall we see what happens, then?
- Yeah.
- OK.
The dyskinesia that you have
right now,
is that...
more than normal?
than before the surgery?
Before the surgery, no,
I would have said it's about the same.
About the same? OK.
- OK.
- Yeah.
we can calm this
down a little bit.
- That would be nice!
- See how we go.
Via a wireless link,
a current is applied to the
deep inside Deidre's brain,
to try and get the neurons
firing together.
If you feel anything unusual,
let me know.
I'm just increasing the current now.
And again.
It's almost like I can feel it
inside now.
It's er...
Like a buzz.
It's... It's not unpleasant.
Can you give me ten big finger taps,
as wide as you can,
as quickly as you can?
That's really good.
You're going to surprise me!
- There you are.
- Wow.
And then, incredibly,
for the first time in 12 years,
Deidre can walk in a straight line.
I can turn better.
That looks better.
You got arm swing, yeah.
Which it wasn't. It wasn't, no,
you're right.
That's definitely easier. Yeah.
It just looked like a real kind of
sudden calming.
Yes, that's probably a good way of
describing it.
That's probably how it feels.
Exciting. It is exciting!
I think, for me,
this is a beginning of hopefully
getting back some of that...
That control...
Um, in my life.
Accompanying Deidre on her journey
and witnessing her bravery in the
face of this kind of
unknown world of brain science
has been, um...
really moving.
The risk she's taken...'s going to give her a new life.
Five years ago, I began this
exploration of brain and mind with
no interest and no experience
in, you know,
how it all works and how it's put
together, so it was kind of... unexpected confrontation
with this fundamental organ.
Science thinks it understands
my brain.
even, you know, the guys at MIT,
the Holy Grail of all things
have the humility to recognise that
we know more about black holes
than we do about the human brain.
I think the greater our
of the neural function
of how the brain works,
it seems the further we are
from understanding the person
kind of encased within this, um,
this structure.
I prefer the person that I am now
than the person I was
before the stroke.
Having had my life almost
taken away,
and having a part of my brain taken
has given me humility.
So you're always grateful.
You're always grateful.
You're always happy.
So rather than trying to...
..enhance unusual brains,
we should be celebrating
the fact that...
..each brain is unique.