TV reporter’s slurred live broadcast caused by complex migraine

BY Ethan Sacks

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Originally Published:Thursday, February 17th 2011, 3:58 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 17th 2011, 5:51 PM

There is finally an explanation for a Los Angeles TV reporter’s slurred gibberish during a live broadcast Sunday night, which puzzled millions.
 
Serene Branson‘s bout of babbling was caused by a complex migraine, her physician, Dr. Neil Martin, told The Los Angeles Times.
 
Branson’s nightmarish 10-second report after Sunday night’s Grammy broadcast from the Staples Center began: “Well, a very, very heavy burtation tonight,” before her words became even more incomprehensible.
 
She struggled to speak for nearly 10 seconds, before the station cut to prerecorded Grammy coverage. Branson was examined by paramedics at the scene, but released without hospitalization.
 
Shortly afterward, the clip of Branson’s slurred broadcast went viral, with neurological experts around the world weighing in on whether or not the Emmy-nominated reporter had suffered a stroke on the air.
 
A complex migraine has similar symptoms to a stroke, including impaired speech and severe headaches, and can often be mistaken for one, said Martin, chief of neurosurgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Unlike a stroke, however, its effects are fleeting.
 
Branson gave permission for her doctor to publicly discuss her condition.
 
A date has not been set for Branson’s return to the air, but the station posted a message for her well-wishers on Monday afternoon:
 
“Serene thanks everyone for their concern and good wishes and hopes to be back on the air very soon, the network.”

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