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