The PJ Tatler

Interesting: not a stroke but a migraine

Mediaite has this story:

KCBS-TV reporter Serene Branson visited the CBS Early Show Friday morning, talking about the Grammys night liveshot that left many viewers worried they’d just witnessed a reporter having a stroke on live television. Appearing with Erica Hill and CBS medical reporter Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Branson said she felt nervous about returning to work but had been fully cleared to do so by her doctors.

“She had the complete head-to-toe workup. Everything was evaluated according to a stroke protocol to exclude a stroke,” said Ashton. “95 percent sure did not have a stroke, but a classic migraine,” which can mimic the symptoms of a stroke. What was different from a traditional stroke, Ashton said, was the timeline. Branson’s symptoms developed slowly over time, “little by little,” while a stroke comes on “like a lightswitch.”

People often don’t realize how many weird things classical migraine can do, from the fairly prosaic blinding pain, to things like this — aphasia or dysphasia, inability or impaired speech, like what happened to Serene — to mood changes,  to things like stomach pain and nausea with no other “migraine” symptoms.  What’s more, severe migraines can also lead to “ischemic strokes”, brain damage caused by severe oxygen restriction — cause in turn by the spasms of the cerebral blood vessels that are causing the migraine.

A dear friend had several ischemic strokes; it’s interesting to see this example of the difficulties with migraine become so public.