[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 17, 1989

Can You Hear the Clapping of One Hand? Learning to Live With a Stroke

JAMA. 1989;261(7):1069. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420070119048

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This remarkable book was written by the professor emeritus of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, two decades after she awoke one morning at the age of 50 with a cerebrovascular lesion (1964) that paralyzed her left limbs, the upper permanently. A right carotid arteriogram revealed marked narrowing of the internal carotid artery over a short segment and probably occlusion of branches of the right middle cerebral artery. Dr Veith had had migrainous scintillating scotoma and headache as "forerunners" of the stroke. She still has episodes of scintillating scotoma (localization not mentioned) lasting the usual 25 to 30 minutes.

So much for the neurology of the case. Hers is not primarily a neurological treatise, although, as befits a medical historian, there is an appreciative reference to Charcot's extraordinarily interesting chapter on "Scintillating Scotoma" from his Clinical Lectures on Diseases of the Nervous System (pp