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Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Update: Serene Branson and the fears of a stroke after newscast flub

By Melissa Bell
serene branson
Screen grab of Serene Branson from CBS News

Monday morning a video of a newscaster crossed the Internet. It had all the hallmarks of viral video-hood: a pretty blonde, an epic fail and an easy-to-watch length of only 17 seconds. Reporting from the Grammys Sunday night, Serene Branson, a reporter for the Los Angeles-based CBS affiliate, managed to fumble almost every word in her brief shot. A case of the nerves getting the better of a broadcaster? Perhaps. But soon a more troubling possibility arose: The Internet diagnosed Branson with having an on-air stroke.

Symptoms of a stroke, according to the American Heart Association, can include sudden confusion or trouble speaking.

Thankfully, CBS reports that she was examined by paramedics who said her vital signs were normal. "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," the station's official statement says.

Here's the statement from KCBS.

CBS removed most of the videos online, and a Twitter account started up, supposedly by Branson's nephews after seeing the newscaster's name as a trending topic.

"Oh my! Serene Branson is trending? I'm sorry, it was just the nerves," the first tweet reads.

Good Morning America spoke to a neurologist about the medical implications:

One of our readers writes:

Serene Branson's symptoms were extremely similar (the same) to those I had experienced for as many as five years. These symptoms were accompanied by short and long term memory loss. I went to see my primary care doctor who determined it was stress related and dismissed it.
Shortly thereafter. I had a severe tonic clonic epileptic seizure and found myself in the hospital at 4:00am. A brain scan found no abnormalities. Since (1.5 yrs), I have seen a neurologist who has prescribed medication and taken steps to better manage stress.
The only reason I am writing is with the hope that she learns that others suffer similarly and the symptoms should not be dismissed. See a neurologist and do not dismiss epilepsy. Untreated, this will only get worse and may be life threatening.

By Melissa Bell  | February 15, 2011; 10:01 AM ET
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Comments

I had slurred incoherent speech with right hand weakness and a terrible headache. I was taken to ER, given a CAT scan and released with diagnosis of TIA. I left a message on wife's voicemail that was totally garbage. My signature on being released from ER was a bizarre scribble. That was 20 years ago and I haven't had a problem since.

Posted by: Doctor_Evil | February 14, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Doctor_Evil, I'm glad to hear that! The body works in mysterious ways.

Posted by: Melissa Bell | February 15, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Serene Branson's symptoms were extremely similar (the same) to those I had experienced for as many as five years. These symptoms were accompanied by short and long term memory loss. I went to see my primary care doctor who determined it was stress related and dismissed it.

Shortly thereafter. I had a severe tonic clonic epileptic seizure and found myself in the hospital at 4:00am. A brain scan found no abnormalities. Since (1.5 yrs), I have seen a neurologist who has prescribed medication and taken steps to better manage stress.

The only reason I am writing is with the hope that she learns that others suffer similarly and the symptoms should not be dismissed. See a neurologist and do not dismiss epilepsy. Untreated, this will only get worse and may be life threatening.

Posted by: epileptic | February 15, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad she's doing better but I believe this video should not be shown over and over. Let's respect her privacy and not exploit someone having a difficult time. Just give us updates on her status.

Posted by: smithstar4 | February 15, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused she didn't go to the hospital and was only checked out by paramedics - I know they do a great job but... Why?

Posted by: rlj1 | February 15, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Washington Post and those who have posted comments for taking Serene's situation seriously. My mother has had similar experiences that have left her blind. This is not to be taken lightly.

Please, please, please... avoid looking up Serene on youtube. Most of the originators and commentators are very unkind people. They are making a joke of Serene.

Please keep Serene, her family, and her doctors in your prayers.

Posted by: Markowski | February 15, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The Grammys are making the news
Because Arcade Fire and Muse
Performed with panache
And strobes with such flash
Serene Branson's brain blew a fuse.

News Short n' Sweet by JFD8
http://twitter.com/JFD8

Posted by: jd121 | February 15, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

smithstar wrote:

"I'm so glad she's doing better but I believe this video should not be shown over and over. Let's respect her privacy and not exploit someone having a difficult time"

You mean have a different set of rules for members of the media than they do for the rest of society, right?

Remember your concern the next time you see a reporter on the doorstep of a person who just suffered a tragic death looking for a "spokesperson" from the family to interview!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 15, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

jd121

I hope your brain never blows a fuse. Frankly, I hope you are never ill. With your perspective, I would be surprised if anyone even cared if you were ill. You may want to plan for a small funeral.

I will keep you in my prayers and pray that you will see illness from a kinder perspective someday.

God bless you!

Posted by: Markowski | February 15, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Apparently on the Today show, their chief medical correspondent said "no doubt" it was a neurological event. That MD hasn't even examined Ms. Branson, nor has she seen any test results!

But I'm curious - Ms. Branson had this episode & was only checked out by paramedics before being sent home??? I'm gonna take a wild guess that after the broadcast all of her vitals were completely normal & she was instructed to follow-up with her own doctor or a specialist.

But another possibility is that perhaps she's diabetic & hadn't eaten in a while. Low blood sugar might cause someone to babble. After some juice or soda & a "good to go" from the paramedics, she could go home.

We should respect her privacy & let it go.

Posted by: PorthosAD | February 15, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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