Monday, September 1, 2008


There has already been some speculation in blogdom about whether or not Vice-Presidential Candidate Senator Joseph Biden had two operations for brain tumors several years ago. Many contend that the original announcements were that he had brain tumor operations, but when he began to run for the presidency eight years ago the word was that they were not brain tumors but were instead brain aneurysms.
Brain tumors/Brain aneurysms?
There certainly is a difference, but when one is thinking about it in terms of the person who will be either the Vice-President or the President of the United States it is legitimate to raise doubts about the fitness of any person who has had either a brain tumor or a brain aneurysm to hold such an office, and Joseph Biden has had two of them.
Nancy Pelosi, President of the United States!
God forbid that anything should happen to Barack Hussein Obama if he were to be elected to be President of the United States. But, if something should happen to him then Joseph Biden, Vice-President, would automatically become President. And if President Biden should have another brain tumor/brain aneurysm and either die or become incapacitated the Speaker of the House, under our Constitution would automaticaly become President. Can you imagine it:
Nancy Pelosi, President of the United States.
Julie Bain had an interesting post on her blog on the Reader's Digest. com website on August 26:
A Bomb in the Brain
Last Wednesday, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Democrat from Ohio, died of a cerebral hemorrhage after an aneurysm in her brain ruptured while she was driving. Just three days later, Obama announced Joe Biden (below, right) as his running mate, and news reports reminded us that a decade ago, Biden was diagnosed with not one, but two, brain aneurysms. He underwent two surgeries to place a titanium clip on the weak bulging spots so they wouldn’t rupture. He was lucky; his aneurysms were identified before they could blow.

Scary as they sound, brain aneurysms are surprisingly common. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation estimates that as many as 6 million people in the US have one, and most people never even know it. But about 25,000 of those rupture each year, and half of the victims die within minutes. Those who survive can have severe brain damage.
Who Gets Aneurysms?
No one knows for sure why some people develop aneurysms, says Philip M. Meyers, MD. He’s an interventional neuroradiologist (that means he does brain surgery, but from the inside) at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, where he sees hundreds of cases a year. Women get them more than men, he says, and smokers have a higher risk. Some experts believe that high blood pressure may contribute, too, as well as certain disorders, such as polycystic kidney disease, neurofibromatosis, and a number of other relatively rare conditions.
Anyone who’s had one aneurysm, like Biden, is at risk for another, so he should be followed by a doctor for this possibility, says Dr. Meyers.There’s no cost-effective way to screen for aneurysms in the general population, though, as they rarely cause symptoms before they rupture and may be relatively quick to form. But if even a little blood does leak out of one, it will cause severe pain or pressure in the head, neck stiffness, and sensitivity to light. “The worst headache of your life,” is the way Dr. Meyers’ patients usually describe it.
Surgery from the Inside
Aneurysms can be treated with titanium clips like Biden has, or with a newer minimally invasive technique, which Dr. Meyers does, in which he inserts tiny platinum coils into the bulge in the artery from a microcatheter threaded from the leg all the way up into the brain. The coils seal off the aneurysm, allowing any remaining blood to clot and eventually become a scar. This effectively treats the aneurysm without conventional head-opening surgery and prevents rupturing. A study in The Lancet a few years ago found that patient survival at one year was significantly higher among those who’d had the coiling technique than with those who had the clipping surgery. Dr. Meyers says there are potential risks with either procedure, and aneurysm patients should consult a specialist on which is best for them. For example, conventional surgery for clipping of an aneurysm in certain areas of the brain could result in minor brain damage, such as personality changes.
“Wow, then could that explain some of the dumb things Biden says?” I blurted out, thinking of the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” gaffe, as well as the recent “Barack America” announcement.
Dr. Meyers replied, “I think that could explain it.” I’m not sure if he was serious. I mean, we all misspeak at times, or say things before we have time to filter them appropriately. What’s my excuse? Not brain surgery!

PS: Of course, Democrats aren't the only ones who've had to deal with brain problems recently. As we wrote in our article this month on the dangers of stopping your medications early, Cindy McCain suffered a stroke after she stopped taking her blood pressure pills four years ago. She's lucky, too, as she recovered, although she still has some short-term memory loss and some difficulty with her right hand.

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