the VOA Special English Health Report.
hear the term brain aneurysm. Joe
Biden had two of them twenty years ago. Doctors saved his life. Now the
sixty-five year old senator from Delaware has just been named the vice
presidential choice of Democrat Barack Obama.
first black congresswoman, however, was not so lucky. Fifty-eight year old
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones died last week within hours after a brain
aneurysm burst. Doctors said she may have had no warning, which would not be
aneurysm is a weak or thin area along an artery wall in the brain. It can
become so thin that it ruptures and bleeds. The most
common form looks like a small, round berry hanging from the artery.
Clinic in Minnesota says as many as fifteen million people in the United
States, or five percent, have a berry aneurysm. Fewer than thirty thousand will
ever suffer a rupture.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that forty
percent of victims die within twenty-four hours. Another twenty-five percent
die within six months.
may live a long and healthy life and never know they have an aneurysm. But
sometimes, if it gets big enough, it can cause pain or other problems that lead
to its discovery.
Biden's case, his neck hurt for several weeks. Doctors thought he had a pinched
nerve and a virus. But in February of nineteen eighty-eight, tests showed a
leaking artery at the base of his brain. Doctors operated successfully, and
again three months later for an aneurysm in another area.
is director of the Chicago chapter of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, a support
group. She describes what happened when she suffered a rupture in March of two
with the worst headache ever. She called emergency services. Rescuers found her
collapsed in her kitchen.
operation was a success. But she was in a coma for three weeks. She woke up
blind and unable to move. She had two surgeries to return her sight and another
to correct a second aneurysm. She spent five months in the hospital and many
months in physical therapy.
Janet Sutherland can walk again, and says she can see better than ever.
say most brain aneurysms happen in people born with an abnormality in an artery
wall. Other causes can include head injuries, high blood pressure, infections,
tobacco use and use of stimulant drugs.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve