This health video focuses on the different treatments available help people with brain aneurysms.
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Jennifer Matthews: At age 54, Ursula Spear was not only in pain, she was losing the use of her arms and legs. Ursula Spear: Cleaning ceiling or cleaning anything like that. Oh! my God, I just couldn't do it. Jennifer Matthews: Finally, an MRI revealed the problem. Ursula Spear: Oh! You have an aneurysm, and it's inoperable. Jennifer Matthews: A dolichoectatic aneurysm was pressing on Ursula's brain stem. Her prognosis was bleak. Michael Lawton: They go from being normal, healthy patients, to being wheelchair-bound, to having aspiration pneumonia, to being institutionalized, and ultimately dying. Jennifer Matthews: But Ursala refused to give up. She found a surgeon at the University of California who was using computer modeling to operate on inoperable brain aneurysms. Michael Lawton: It's going to revolutionize the way that we look at aneurysms. Jennifer Matthews: To treat Ursula's aneurysm, doctors would have to close one or both arteries leading to it. Perform a bypass by grafting a vein from one end to the other or do both. Michael Lawton: Frankly, there's a lot of guess work, and the risks of intervening are high. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors cannot predict how this type of aneurysm will react to the various strategies. But computers can. Michael Lawton: The computer can look at each one and say, alright, this is the best intervention to try and reduce that. Jennifer Matthews: Based on computer modeling, Dr. Lawton shut one artery and did a bypass. The results are dramatic. Ursula's aneurysm has shrunk from this to a safe size. Ursula Spear: It saved my life. Jennifer Matthews: Ursula's head and neck aches are gone. And she's even happy to do mundane tasks that were once impossible. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.