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Entries in Grammys (3)

Friday
Feb102012

Celebrity Voices Saved by Surgery

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Singer-songwriter Adele will take the stage at the Grammys on Sunday, giving her first performance since she had surgery in November for a vocal cord hemorrhage. Though operations have saved several famous voices in recent years, doctors say going under the knife is often a last resort when it comes to repairing vocal cords.

A vocal cord hemorrhage like Adele’s happens when tiny blood vessels feeding the vocal cords rupture and leak. Surgery can seal the blood vessels to prevent them from filling the vocal cords with blood, which make it difficult for them to vibrate.

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Recovering from the surgery is no small matter, especially for a performer who needs a booming voice to sing for millions of people. Dr. Kristine Tanner, clinical director of the University of Utah Voice Disorders Center, said Adele has likely had full use of her voice since early January. Usually after surgery for a vocal hemorrhage, patients completely rest their voices for one week, begin speaking lightly after two or three weeks and can gradually begin singing three to six weeks after surgery.

“Then you have to work back up to your previous endurance level, like going back to the gym after being out for six weeks,” Tanner said.

Vocal cord problems are an occupational hazard for many professional singers, recently plaguing the likes of John Mayer and Keith Urban, both of whom went under the knife to save their voices.

Performers who belt out songs to sold-out arenas, record tracks for new albums and use their voice for day-to-day speaking can develop polyps and nodules on their cords, keeping them from vibrating correctly when air passes over them. Doctors can detect these problems using imaging technology and scopes with cameras attached, and fix them with minimally invasive procedures, such as phonomicrosurgery.

But voice experts say surgery is often a last resort for a performer’s vocal troubles. Dr. Michael Benninger, chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, has treated dozens of celebrity singers and public speakers. He said most doctors recommend other types of treatments to correct patients’ vocal troubles.

“We rarely have to do surgery on these patients,” Benninger said. “It is surprising how many high-profile performers that we see that behavioral modification is what they need.”

Formal vocal training, speech therapy, larynx massages and even changes in diet, alcohol use and other lifestyle habits can do a lot to alleviate exhausted, injured vocal cords, which can take as much of a beating as the muscles and bones of athletes. Often, these fixes are a better solution than surgery, Tanner said.

“It’s like a runner. You can operate on their ankle, but it would be preferred to change their form so they don’t continue to re-injure themselves,” Tanner said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

CBS Reporter Suffered Complex Migraine, Not Stroke, Doctor Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images/File Photo(LOS ANGELES) -- A doctor who treated Serene Branson, the CBS Los Angeles reporter whose garbled live report from Sunday's Grammy awards had many wondering if she suffered a stroke on the air, said a complex migraine was to blame.

"Her description of the events is really entirely typical of complex migraine," said Dr. Andrew Charles, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program in the UCLA Department of Neurology, who saw Branson Thursday morning.

A symptom of migraine aura is "dysphasic language dysfunction," in which people know what they want to say but they can't get the words out.  This is similar to aphasia, which can signal a stroke or a tumor.

"Imaging studies ruled out other kinds of problems like a stroke or primary brain event," Charles said.

Like a stroke, a complex migraine can disturb blood flow in the brain.  But the main event in a migraine is "a storm of brain activity" that causes "waves of change in brain function" that spread across the brain, Charles said.

"There are dramatic changes in blood flow, but in the case of migraine, the changes don't reach the point where they actually damage the brain," Charles said.  "There are no residual effects."

The video of the episode was to some upsetting to watch, as Branson's speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible.  She appeared increasingly aware that something was wrong during the broadcast.

Branson was examined shortly after the incident by paramedics on location. Her vital signs were normal and she was not hospitalized.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Did Reporter Suffer Stroke on Live TV?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images / File Photo(LOS ANGELES) -- As Serene Branson, a young and healthy-looking CBS Los Angeles reporter, delivered a live report from the Grammys' red carpet Sunday night, her speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible. She appeared increasingly worried and aware that something was wrong throughout the newscast.

"Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast. Her vital signs were normal,” said CBS spokesman Mike Nelson. “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."

But after watching the clip, several doctors said that Sunday night's events caught on tape should not be taken lightly.

“She appears [in the video] to have an aphasia, [or] problem with expressive language, and right-sided facial weakness,” said Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C. “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.

The American Stroke Association says that if a person shows any sign of a stroke, including difficulty speaking, she should get to the hospital immediately.

"From what I saw of the broadcast, it would make sense that the person seeks immediate neurological evaluation," said Dr. Patrick Lyden, chairman of the department of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "The symptoms of altered speech -- aphasia -- can be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as stroke or tumor."

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is an interruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain. The term comes from the old adage that a sufferer had received a "stroke of God's hand" and was therefore damaged.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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