Monday, August 25, 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, 1949 - 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones died last week of a brain hemorrhage after a cerebral aneurysm ruptured. Per reports, she was found unconscious in her car and rushed to an Ohio hospital with limited brain function. She died the next day. Her story sparked some controversy as she was initially reported to have died while she was in fact still alive but in critical condition. On a tangentially related note, recently named Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Biden has also suffered from cerebral aneurysms. He was absent from the senate for roughly 7 months in 1988 to correct 2 aneurysms.

Why mention this sad news here? Well, I don't know much about aneurysms but I wonder if we will ever able to develop a cost-effective, benign way to screen for them. Right now, I believe the options are basically a CT head with contrast or a cerebral angiogram, but the former exposes the patient to radiation while the latter not only has the radiation exposure but is also invasive. Still, given the catastrophic outcomes of a ruptured aneurysm, I wonder what the cost-benefit analysis of screening would be. Anyone out there have any idea? Just curious.

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