Serene Branson stroke fears may be aphasia

Tuesday 15 Feb 2011 12:02 p.m.

By James Murray

CBS Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson was not taken to hospital after slurring her words during a Grammys live cross.

It was widely reported the reporter was taken for tests amid fears that she may have suffered a stroke.

She was introduced from the studio and began “Well, a very, very” – from then on in her speech became unintelligible.

Strokes can interfere with the brain’s ability to process language or prevent facial muscles from forming correct speech sounds.

A spokesperson for CBS said:

"Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast. 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."

However, doctors who saw the clip said the incident should be taken seriously.

"[That's a] pretty scary clip," said Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C. "She appears to have an aphasia, [or] problem with expressive language, and right-sided facial weakness. Although this can be caused by other conditions, it is very concerning for stroke."

Aphasia usually comes on suddenly after a stroke or head injury, but it can also progress gradually because of a growing brain tumor or degenerative disease.

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