TV Reporter who Garbled Speech Suffered Migraine, Not Stroke

Serene Branson, the Los Angeles TV reporter whose garbled speech during a live broadcast at the Grammys on Sunday led many to believe she had suffered a stroke, actually suffered a condition called a "severe migraine with aura," doctors who examined her said today (Feb. 17).

Branson was examined yesterday by Dr. Neil Martin, chief of neurosurgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and this morning by Dr. Andrew Charles, a professor of neurology at the medical center. They received permission from Branson to disclose her medical status, according to the UCLA Medical Center.

During the broadcast, Branson did not seem to be in pain but her words were unintelligibly jumbled. Producers cut away from her just a few seconds later and paramedics were called. She went home from the hospital that day, according to the L.A. Times.

Symptoms of such a migraine can be similar to those of a stroke, including weakness and loss of vision or trouble speaking, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Migraines with auras, can cause a person to see flashes of light or feel pins-and-needles sensations on the arms and legs, according to the Mayo Clinic. The cause of migraines is not well understood .

Branson's migraine may have been caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels in her brain, which caused them to spasm and then dilate again, according to the L.A. Times. The dilation of the blood vessels causes a headache, but the spasm phase can lead to temporary stroke-like symptoms .

Pass it on: Los Angeles TV reporter Serene Branson didn't suffer a stroke on-camera, like many had thought instead she had a severe migraine with aura, which can have similar symptoms to a stroke.

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Amanda Chan
Amanda Chan was a staff writer for Live Science Health. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.