Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Terri Schiavo's CAT scan
This single image shows a very severely damaged brain. The large “blue blobs” in the middle are ventricles, also present in healthy brains (you can see the two little dark crescent shapes in the brain on the right) that have expanded to such a large size because the overall brain volume is so low. Cranial space that would otherwize have been filled by gray matter is now filled with cerebrospinal fluid. And yes, that’s what the blue space is: cerebrospinal fluid that is filling up space left behind by necrotic brain tissue that has been scavenged and removed by the body.
Or maybe I should be listening to DeLay, Schiavo Case Tests Priorities Of GOP:
"She talks and she laughs and she expresses happiness and discomfort," and he blamed her inability to speak on the fact that "she's not been afforded any speech therapy -- none!"
Then again, there is Sen Frist, M.D. and his thoughtful diagnosis, ibid.,
He described her as having "a severe disability similar to what cerebral palsy might be."
Nevermind, I'll stick with what is being reported in the WashPost, ibid.,
Neurologists and other experts say that Schiavo's facial expression...are nothing more than involuntary movements. Scans show her cerebral cortex has been severely damaged, and other tests indicate no normal electrical activity in her brain.
Update: As reported in the Toronto Star's interview with Leon Prockop, a professor of neurology at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, we have
Prockop has looked at Schiavo's CAT scans, and he harbours no doubt whatsoever. "Her death occurred some time ago...That's my opinion."
"She has lost all frontal lobe functions," Prockop said. "In her case, there is a severe absence of brain tissue. This is not guesswork."
Prockop and Bradley have examined Schiavo's CAT scans and they agree on what is there and on what is not. "She has approximately 20 per cent of her (total) brain tissue left inside her skull, and the remaining tissue is damaged," said Prockop. "The tissue that controls the higher brain functions is gone. It's disappeared."
And what of Florida neurologist William Cheshire, on staff at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville?
Cheshire drew his conclusions after observing Terri Schiavo in person and reviewing her medical history. He said she was alert and possibly capable of recovery, although he did not conduct an examination of his own.
[T]he Mayo Clinic where he works has distanced itself from his opinion on the matter, declaring on its website that "the standard procedure for the evaluation of a comatose patient includes ... the performance of a comprehensive neurological examination." Cheshire conducted no such examination before reaching his opinion.