Bringing Hope to Brain Aneurysm with Interventional Neurology

BAW Brain Awareness Week enBloomOne in every 50 Americans is walking around with a potential bomb in their head, an unruptured brain aneurysm. On average, there is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes in this country. When this catastrophic event occurs about 60% survive but more than half of those go on to suffer permanent disabilities.  In the remaining 40% of ruptured aneurysms, also known as aneurysmal hemorrhagic stroke the outcome is fatal.  This is the tragic fate that met Virginia-native, Tim Susco in 2007 while working on his dream job as a location scout for a major NBC television series.  I never knew Tim Susco but I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the rest of his family in the work we do in organ donor education with the Washington Regional Transplant Community. Tim’s mother, Nancy is a tireless advocate for brain aneurysm research and organ donation.

“Tim’s death made us aware of both issues,” says Nancy.  “Brain aneurysms kill.  But organ donation gives others a second chance at life.  And we were happy to turn what would normally be an empty tragedy into something positive for our family.”

stroke aneurysm SAH BAW Brain Awareness Week enBloom enbloommediaLast year while attending TEDMED 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting a young physician, David Turkel-Parrella in the midst of his fellowship training as a neurologist. The field of neuroscience thanks to technology creating superior images of the brain has significantly transformed training in neurology. So after completing training in vascular neurology, Dr. Parrella now works at the University of Toronto as an Interventional Neurology Fellow.  What is an interventional neurologist? A physician that uses minimally invasive image-guided techniques to treat serious, potentially dangerous disease of the brain, neck and spine, such as brain aneurysm.  Indeed, it is those important advances I previously mentioned that make treatment more effective and less invasive than in years past.  Dr. Parrella makes comparison between the heart and the brain to help me understand the type of progress being made in in the neurosciences. He said that we are learning things about the brain physiology and vasculature  analogous to what we learned about the heart 20 years ago. Dr. Parrella is on the leading edge, bringing state-of-the-art care in stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Loosing your loved one before biomedical research and progress catches up to their clinical condition is heartbreaking. Yet, the Susco family is dedicated to raising money and awareness to protect others from the raving effects of brain aneurysm and aneurysmal hemorrhagic stroke.

Please join me and Dr. Parrella as I co-host (w/Kathleen Hoffman and RV Rickard) a Health Literacy, Health Communications and Social Sciences Tweet Chat focusing on Stroke Thursday 3/14 8pm EDT.

Learn more about the work of the Susco family and The Susco 8K.

Source: The Brain Aneurysm Foundation

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