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A. Treatment Options for Cerebral Aneurysms

Narrator: This is Science Today. About 30 thousand Americans suffer from ruptured cerebral aneurysms each year. This is caused by a bulge in a blood vessel, which balloons out and weakens the vessel wall. Clay Johnston, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco says once a rupture occurs, about fifty percent of patients die and half of the patients who do survive, will suffer some kind of permanent disability.

Johnston: Because it's so devastating when one ruptures, there has been a lot of interest in preventing the rupture. So very sophisticated techniques for treating these have been developed, primarily by neurosurgeons. More recently, too, by radiologists and the idea there is to plug up the aneurysm.

Narrator: This is done by inserting a long catheter into an artery in the groin area, which reaches the neck of the aneurysm in the brain. There, small metal coils fill up the aneurysm, ultimately clotting it off.

Johnston: It's still in its infancy, but it looks like it's gonna be a potentially safer alternative for some patients.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.