By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A stroke can be devastating – especially if the symptoms are not recognized quickly and serious damage is done.

The effects of a stroke depend on several things including the location of the damage and how much of the brain is affected.

The strange thing about the brain is that one side controls the other side of the body. If a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, the body’s left side is affected – with the exception of the face.

Of course whether it happens on the left side of the brain or the right, a stroke can cause severe damage. Some major problems are paralysis, memory loss, vision problems and behavioral changes. Speech and language are commonly affected.

But, as I mentioned earlier, we know from numerous studies that early intervention in treatment – like clot busting drugs as well as a rapid use of rehabilitation tools after stroke – can make a big difference.