Monday, March 07, 2011

Reporter Serene Branson's On-Air Migraine Attack


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As people who follow migraine-related news chances are you've heard about entertainment reporter Serene Branson's on-air migraine attack during the Grammy Awards a few weeks ago. Many of us who experience migraine attacks have never dealt with those kind of complicated neurological symptoms. You may be wondering what kind of migraine she experienced and how she's doing now.

Branson is a television reporter in Los Angeles who became famous across the world when she suffered a migraine attack during a live segment following the Grammy Awards. Her words became garbled, she felt weak and experienced numbness in her arm and hand. She was diagnosed with migraine, rather than the stroke so many people thought she'd suffered.

Her doctors diagnosed her with what they called a complex migraine. This is a sort of outdated term that isn't found in the International Headache Society (IHS) Classification. The IHS Classification is a well-recognized guide doctors use in diagnosing headache and migraine disorders. The term complex actually describes the symptoms related to the attack in that the there were a variety of complicated neurological issues involved in her migraine attack. Under the IHS Classification the specific kind of migraine she experienced is called hemiplegic migraine. This term refers to migraine attacks that involve motor weakness and visual or other sensory symptoms.

Branson has said her doctors started her on a preventive medication. They don't believe she'll necessarily deal with migraine attacks in the future, but want to try to prevent them if they can.

Unfortunately if you Google Branson's name you'll see some YouTube videos of people making fun of her attack. The idea that anything about her migraine attack is funny is just astounding to me. What kind of sick jerk pokes fun at a neurological disorder? That kind of thing makes me really worry that maybe people aren't as good as I'd like to think they are. However, I also know the number of people joking about her attack is very small. And she mentioned in interviews that people from all over the world have reached out to offer her their support, which is very cool. While I'm sorry she had to deal with this I'm glad it has initiated a more public discussion of the true nature of migraine disease.

Sources:
IHS Classification: ICHD-II
Serene Branson Finds 'Uncomfortable' Oscar Fame
Serene Branson Returns to Red Carpet Two Weeks After Grammy Scare
Serene Branson An Accidental Advocate for Migraineurs?


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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.