The New York Times is quoting another stroke specialist who suspects, in the footage of Serene Branson that aired live on the Channel 2 news here Sunday night, that we saw rare and medically valuable video of an ischemic stroke as it is happening.
“What a terrifying event,” said Dr. Daniel Labovitz, assistant professor of neurology at Einstein School of Medicine and attending stroke neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. “I very strongly suspect this was a stroke or transient ischemic attack.”
He said her speech problem suggests she had a blockage in the part of the brain that involves speech comprehension, but not speech production. Her speech pattern was characteristic of a condition called Wernicke aphasia. “The patient is pretty much unaware of the problem they’re having, and they are speaking fluently, with normal musicality of speech, but the words that come out are completely wrong,” he said. “Everything that’s coming out is unintelligible even though it sounds like language.”
Dr. Labovitz noted that because he doesn’t know Ms. Branson’s full medical history, he can’t be certain of her diagnosis, but the video is strongly suggestive of a stroke or T.I.A. He said it is highly unusual for such a problem to be captured on video. “This is more information than I’m usually going to get when someone has had a T.I.A.,” he added.
The New York Times continues to run the video, although CBS has demanded it be taken down elsewhere. (Branson and Channel 2 have not addressed whether she had a stroke.) Meanwhile, Franklin Avenue says that KROJ DJs Kevin and Bean were told not to discuss Branson on the air at all. KROQ is a CBS radio station.