3 Famous People With Hydrocephalus (Sherman Alexie)

Hydrocephalus is a condition which occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. The name means “water on the brain.”

In 2003, hydrocephalus accounted for 0.6% of all pediatric hospital admissions in the US, according to a 2008 data review by the University of Utah.

Symptoms

Common symptoms and signs of hydrocephalus in adults 60 years of age and older include:

  • poor balance or coordination;
  • difficulty walking, commonly described as the feeling of the feet being stuck or a shuffling gait;
  • progressive loss of reasoning or thinking skills;
  • memory loss;
  • a frequent urge to urinate;
  • loss of bladder control.

Young and middle-aged adults:

  • a decline in concentration, memory, and other thinking skills which may affect job performance;
  • impaired vision;
  • a frequent urge to urinate;
  • loss of bladder control;
  • loss of balance or coordination;
  • lethargy;
  • headache.

Toddlers and older children:

  • problems or delays with previously acquired skills, like – talking or walking;
  • headache;
  • a decline in school performance;
  • double or blurred vision;
  • change in personality;
  • eyes fixed downward;
  • irritability;
  • abnormal enlargement of a toddler’s head;
  • cognitive and behavioral changes;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • lethargy;
  • seizures;
  • sleepiness;
  • poor appetite;
  • poor coordination;
  • unstable balance;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea.

Infants:

  • poor growth;
  • changes in the head’s aspect;
  • poor responsiveness to touch;
  • a large head;
  • deficits in muscle tone and strength;
  • eyes fixed downward;
  • a tense soft spot on the top of the head;
  • seizures;
  • poor feeding;
  • irritability;
  • sleepiness;
  • vomiting.

Causes

Hydrocephalus which develops in children and adults is commonly caused by an injury or illness which affects the brain.

Hydrocephalus that is present at birth usually results from a brain defect restricting the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

Risk Factors

You might be at higher risk if you have experienced any of the following:

  • brain surgery;
  • bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain;
  • head injuries;
  • brain-related infections like meningitis;
  • severe head injury;
  • infections of the nervous system;
  • lesion and tumors of the spinal cord;
  • incomplete closure of the spinal column;
  • an infection in the uterus during pregnancy;
  • preterm pregnancy.

Diagnosis

Your healthcare provider will do an exam and order the following diagnostic tests to get a clear picture of the inside of the brain:

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging);
  • CT (computed tomography) scan;
  • ultrasound.

Treatment

Hydrocephalus is most commonly treated by inserting a shunt or removing the cause of the condition, like – a tumor or other blockage.

Here Is A List Of 3 Famous People With Hydrocephalus:

#1 Dick Wagner

He was an American rock songwriter, music guitarist, songwriter, and author. He is best known for his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, and KISS. His first band, the Bossmen, released the song “Baby Boy,” that he wrote.

His songs and lead guitar have been garnered more than 35 Gold and Platinum records and international awards and have been featured on over 350 renowned albums.

Dick Wagner was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus and was treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Unfortunately, after being hospitalized in Scottsdale, Arizona for respiratory failure, he died on July 30th, 2014. Wagner had undergone a cardiac procedure just 14 days earlier.

#2 Rev. Billy Graham

Image credit – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_and_Billy_Graham.jpg

He was an evangelist at revival meetings, on television and radio for more than 40 years. He has preached the gospel of Christ to hundreds of millions over the airwaves and in films, and in person to more than 80 million individuals.

A Time reporter calling him “the Pope of Protestant America.” Some of his awards include:

  • The Big Brother of the Year Award;
  • The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award;
  • The Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion;
  • The Congressional Gold Medal.

In 2013, Rev. Billy Graham had the vision for proclaiming the Gospel across Canada and the United States, prompting the implementation of a grassroots evangelism outreach combining personal relationships with the power of modern media, called – My Hope with Billy Graham.

In 1989, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In addition, Rev. Billy Graham was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus. Rev. Billy Graham was treated with a shunt.

A few years later, he had surgery to replace the pump on his shunt. Surgeons said Rev. Billy Graham was talking immediately after the short surgery that was performed at Mission Hospitals – close to his home in nearby Montreat.

According to Dr. Ralph C. Loomis, the surgeon who replaced the valve – “He was bright and alert and conscious immediately after surgery and called me by name.”

He died in his sleep Wednesday morning, Feb 21, 2018.

#3 Sherman Alexie

Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/asuenglish/27802973715

He is a Native American writer whose poetry, novels, short stories, and films about the lives of American Indians won him an international appreciation.

Some of his short stories and poems include:

  • Smoke Signals (1998);
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1993), for which he won a PEN/Hemingway Award;
  • The Business of Fancydancing (1992).

In 2005, juror Ann Patchett selected as her favorite story for The O. Henry Prize Stories his short story – “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.”

In 2002, Alexie also directed and wrote a film ”The Business of Fancydancing” that explored the relations between two men who grew up together.

In 2005, he became a founding board member of a non-profit organization which is committed to using media for cultural expression and social change and teaching filmmaking skills to Native American youth, called – Longhouse Media.

Furthermore, he was a guest editor of the literary journal Ploughshares and a World Poetry Bout Association champion for 4 consecutive years.

In his book, War Dances, Sherman Alexie created a character who, like himself, was born with hydrocephalus.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27107887
http://thejns.org/doi/full/10.3171/2014.12.JNS132352
http://www.seattlechildrens.org/clinics-programs/neurosciences/