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Neuroscience For Kids

Text Message Reveals Signs of Stroke
December 28, 2012

brain attack Can a text message signal the symptoms of a stroke (brain attack)? A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped. If this happens for enough time, neurons will start to die because they will not get enough oxygen. Some people who have a stroke have trouble speaking or understanding what other people are saying. In a new report, doctors at Harvard Medical School detail a case in which a text message provided a clue that someone was having a stroke.

text In a case published in the Archives of Neurology, a woman sent her husband a garbled text message. Examples of the text included:

"every where thinging days nighing"
"Some is where!"
"What i think with be fine"

When the woman got to the emergency room, she appeared slightly disoriented, had some movement problems on the right side of her body and she had trouble speaking. A magnetic resonance image showed that her brain was not getting enough blood. Fortunately, she recovered quickly and appears to be fine.

The doctors used the word "dystextia" to describe the jumbled text message. They also noted that dystextia has been reported in people who suffer from migraine.

Perhaps text messages are our new lifesavers!

Reference and more information:

  1. Ravi, A., Rao, V.R. and Klein, J.P., Dystextia: Acute Stroke in the Modern Age, Arch Neurol., 2012, Dec 24:1. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.604
  2. Brain Blood Supply - Neuroscience for Kids
  3. Right/Left Stroke - Neuroscience for Kids
  4. Stroke Awareness - Neuroscience for Kids

Copyright © 1996-2012, Eric H. Chudler, University of Washington