Navigation Links
TV Reporter's Severe Migraine Mimicked a Stroke

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Many people who watched Los Angeles TV reporter Serene Branson suffer what appeared to be a stroke while covering the Grammy awards last Sunday were no doubt relieved to hear her troubles were apparently caused by a severe migraine headache.

Doctors at the University of California, Los Angeles, who performed a brain scan and blood work on Branson, said she suffered a type of migraine -- often called a complex or complicated migraine -- that can mimic symptoms of a stroke, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, president of the American Heart Association and chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, explained that "a complicated migraine can often masquerade as a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack, sometimes called a mini-stroke)."

The symptoms can look just like a stroke, Sacco said, including loss of vision, blurry vision, paralysis on one side of the body, trouble speaking and trouble walking. "All kinds of things we associate with a TIA or stroke can be part of a complicated migraine," he said.

For people whose first experience with a migraine is a complex migraine, Sacco advises that they assume it is a stroke, however.

"If people have these classic symptoms, we should treat them as the emergency we think they are, which is a possible stroke," he said.

Stroke patients should be taken immediately to a hospital where a potentially life-saving, clot-busting drug known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be administered.

According to Sacco, a complex or complicated migraine is caused by an electrical malfunction in the brain, which may be triggered by certain chemicals that produce the symptoms. Stroke, however, is caused by restricted blood flow to the brain, he noted.

"A migraine is not just a headache. It's a complicated brain event," UCLA neurologist Dr. Andrew Charles, who examined Branson, told the AP.

Branson felt numbness on the right side of her face that affected her speech, Charles told the news service. "She was actually having the headache while she was having these other symptoms," he said.

Branson said that, while waiting to go on air, she noticed that the words on her notes were blurry and her "thoughts were not forming the way they normally do," the AP reported.

"As soon as I opened my mouth I knew something was wrong," she said. "I was having trouble remembering the word for Grammy. I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn't have the words to say it."

Another migraine expert, Dr. Timothy Smith, who runs a headache clinic in St. Louis, noted that "complicated migraines are not very common."

The big difference between a stroke and a complicated migraine is that the effects of the migraine are completely reversible, he said.

"Symptoms can last a few minutes for close to an hour," Smith said. "If it goes on longer than an hour, that's the sign of a more complex problem," he added.

After symptoms of a complicated migraine disappear, the patient is left with the headache, Smith said.

More information

For more on migraines, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., president, American Heart Association, and chairman, neurology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Timothy Smith, M.D., migraine specialist, St. Louis; Associated Press

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. The Pentagon Tragedy: Mental Illness, Violence and What Reporters Should Ask
2. Georgetown Research Center Helps Reporters Decipher Health Reform Law & Impact on State Residents
3. Fellowship allows diverse reporters to cultivate public awareness of aging issues
4. Local Blood Supply Impacted by Wednesdays Severe Snow Storm
5. Severe sleep apnea decreases frequency of nightmare recall
6. Severe Sleep Apnea Has Silver Lining
7. H1N1 learnings: Risk factors for severe outcomes among patients admitted to hospital with H1N1
8. Obesity -- mild or severe -- raises kidney stone risk
9. Larynx preservation treatments result in low instance of severe voice disability, nutritional dysfunction
10. UM School of Medicine finds prenatal cocaine exposure not severely damaging to growth, learning
11. Severe Injuries From ATV Accidents on the Rise
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland ... iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness ... & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 ... dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery ... are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an orthodontist ... has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile technology, ... , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can be used ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever ... Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work ... Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners ... with extensive sequencing and genomics experience, as Vice President of North American Capital Sales ... be responsible for leading the sales team in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report to ... the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, it ... excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment ... potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing number ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ... clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as ... or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the ... fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood can aid ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WAYNE, Pa. , June 23, 2016 ... provider, will launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket ... DIA Meeting held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... 6.0, the first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its ... DIA Booth #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: