'Talk and die' syndrome not common, doctor says

March 19, 2009 By Ridgely Ochs

In "talk and die" syndrome, people can have what seems to be a mild blow to the head appear perfectly lucid and then within hours lapse into a coma -- which is what reportedly happened to actress Natasha Richardson after she fell on a Canadian ski slope Monday.

"It is not a very common occurrence," Dr. Steven Flanagan, medical director of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, said Wednesday. "A patient comes into the emergency room talking and then rapidly deteriorates" as pools and puts pressure on tissue.

Flanagan and other doctors speculated that Richardson could have had an epidural hematoma.

Usually caused by a trauma such as a fall, blood builds up between the cover of the brain, called the dura, and the skull. Blood trapped inside the "closed box" of the skull can compress , which can cause pressure on vital functions, said Dr. Henry Woo, associate professor of and radiology at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

A CT scan is the best way to diagnose a , said Dr. Ashesh Mehta, a neurosurgeon at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Like other doctors, he said anyone who has had a blow to the head should be watched for changes in his or her condition.

___

(c) 2009, Newsday.

Explore further: Blame brain, not heart, for high blood pressure

Related Stories

Blame brain, not heart, for high blood pressure

April 15, 2007

The controversial idea that one cause of high blood pressure lies within the brain, and not the heart or blood vessels, has been put forward by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK, and is published this week in the ...

New York doctors testing heated chemo for rare cancer

March 5, 2009

Long Island cancer doctors have borrowed a page from medicine's past to write a new chapter on how to address a rare malignancy by infusing heated chemotherapy directly into the abdomen using a heart-lung machine.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Cow embryos reveal new type of chromosome chimera

May 27, 2016

I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. It's a period that we know very little about, a black box of developmental ...

Shaving time to test antidotes for nerve agents

February 29, 2016

Imagine you wanted to know how much energy it took to bike up a mountain, but couldn't finish the ride to the peak yourself. So, to get the total energy required, you and a team of friends strap energy meters to your bikes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.