TV Reporter Displays Stroke-like Symptoms on Grammy Telecast

TV reporter Serene Branson displayed some alarming behavior earlier this month when she began rambling in gibberish during live coverage at the Grammy Awards.

Lost amid all the hype and excitement at the Grammy Awards earlier this month was a story about a Los Angeles reporter name Serene Branson. Those who actually caught the television station’s coverage were rightfully confused and alarmed when Branson looked directly at the camera and began rambling in gibberish for about 10 seconds before the station cut to another camera. [video clip below]

Speculation has been rampant on the Internet, and many believed that Branson may have suffered an on-air stroke. But after getting the proper medical evaluation and tests to investigate what happened, doctors have concluded that is was not a stroke, but a form of migraine headache that “can mimic the symptoms of a stroke.” More specifically, this was apparently an instance of migraine aura, which can be known to create visual, language, and sensory problems. In Branson’s case, the attack made the right side of her face feel numb, causing her to have trouble speaking.

While most people do not experience any warning prior to a migraine attack, approximately 20 to 30 percent do actually experience sensations prior to it happening. As UCLA neurologist Dr. Andrew Charles aptly stated, “A migraine is not just a headache. It's a complicated brain event.” Considering that Branson has told several media outlets that she “hadn’t been feeling well” before the shoot and that she had a headache and blurry vision, the diagnosis makes sense. Although both strokes and migraine aura attacks are the result of large changes in the blood flow of the brain, the good news for Branson is that the latter does not cause long-term damage. Unfortunately, what it does mean is that Branson, like anyone else who suffers from migraine aura, could be at a greater risk of ischemic strokes.

For more on this story and about migraine aura, please check out the video and visit the links below.

Around the Web

TV reporter speaks about speech problem at Grammys [Yahoo! News]

Serene Branson: migraine, not stroke, caused on-air flub [CBS News]

Serene Branson Had 'Complex Migraine,' Her Physician Says [Huffington Post]

More on Migraine Aura:

Mayo Clinic

CNN Health

NY Times Health Information