Serene Branson Had a Migraine, Not a Stroke

Patient Expert
CBS - Serene Branson

As has been mentioned many times here on MyMigraineConnection, Migraines can have some of the same symptoms as a stroke.

Last week, viewers of a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles saw some of those symptoms on live television when reporter Serene Branson was introducing Grammy Award Coverage. While talking, Branson's words suddenly changed to total nonsense, leading to speculation that she had had a stroke.

Dr. Andrew Charles, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program at UCLA and a leading researcher in the pathophysiology examined Branson. He said she had a "complex Migraine" with aphasia, which "impairs the expression and understanding of language."

You won't find "complex Migraine" listed in our section on _types of Migraine _ because the phrase "complex Migraine" is a descriptive phrase, not a diagnostic one indicative of a specific form of Migraine. In this context, "complex Migraine" means that the neurological symptoms of this Migraine made it more complex than the "average" Migraine.

Here's a video clip to showing what happened to Branson:

Branson's experience is a good example of when to see a doctor. When we have strange or frightening symptoms, we should see a doctor, even if we think the symptoms are due to a Migraine. Fortunately, Branson did not have a stroke, but only a trained physician could determine what caused this attack of aphasia. Had she been having a stroke, getting care as quickly as possible would have been crucial to her survival and recovery.

You can learn more about complex and complicated Migraine in _What Is a Complex or Complicated Migraine? _


The Huffington Post. "Complex Migraine? Stroke? Taking a Closer Look." February 18, 2011.

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