Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson suffered what may be a possible stroke as she reported on live TV from the Grammys. She began her report for CBS 2 News in Los Angeles and was supposed to run through a recap of highlights from the show. Almost immediately, her speech slurred and became unintelligible.
As she spoke, she looked fine but seemed to be aware that her words were not coming out right. It must have been a very scary moment for her as she tried to continue for about 10 seconds. As soon as the station recognized there was a problem, they cut away to pre-recorded Grammy coverage.
According to a recent report in The New York Times, strokes are becoming more common in younger people. Whether the dietary problems, obesity, and the growing cases of diabetes in the country are to blame or if the medical community is just getting better at early diagnosis is yet to be determined.
The report shows some alarming statistics:
Stroke hospitalizations rose sharply among men and women ages 15 to 44, including a 51-percent jump among 15- to 34-year-old men. There were also notable increases among children, though the number of strokes in children remains very small over all. The study found increases of more than 30 percent in boys and girls ages 5 to 14.
While researchers point out that strokes are still far more common among older adults than among young people, caution should be taken when exhibiting odd behaviors and feelings, such as those below which are the classic stroke symptoms:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
The video shows the slurred speech and what we should look out for if anyone we know exhibits such signs. It made me think about kids and how they play around with words during active play. Most would not normally think about strokes in children, but if parents see anything remotely jumbled like Branson exhibited, it warrants an immediate hospital visit. With strokes on the rise in children, it’ s better to be safe than sorry.
Branson has been hospitalized and while no official word has confirmed that she did indeed suffer a stroke, further tests are now being administered. Hopefully, they caught her symptoms before any permanent damage was done. Our best wishes go out to her and we will update her condition as it unfolds.
Update 3:55pm: “Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast,” Branson’s station, KCBS, said in a statement. “Her vital signs were normal. She was not hospitalized. As a precautionary measure, a colleague gave her a ride home and she says that she is feeling fine this morning.”
According to CBS News, some doctors don’t believe this was the best decision:
“I am a little surprised,” Dr. John Krakauer, associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, told CBS News. “Frankly, I would have admitted her.”
Dr. Krakauer, who is not involved in Branson’s care, said that Branson might have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a sort of “mini-stroke” that causes only transient problems. Some patients who are seen at a hospital for a TIA are allowed to go home without being admitted, he said.
He said it was also possible that Branson had suffered a seizure or experienced a rare condition associated with migraine headaches.
Image: CBS 2 News