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article imageMan's runny nose not allergy but brain fluid leaking out

By Stephen Morgan     May 7, 2013 in Health
A man who thought he was suffering with allergies was, if fact, leaking brain fluid through his nose, which nearly killed him.
Joe Nagy was terrified when he learned that his runny nose wasn't caused by an allergy, but by a tear in the membrane of his brain, which was leaking protective fluid. The Independent reports that after 18 months of problems, he finally went to the doctor. Joe said after the diagnosis, “I was scared to death if you want to know the truth”.
His condition got steadily worse and became embarrassing, when he leaked brain fluids over blueprints at a work meeting. Joe said he would awake and find fluid seeping out of his nose like tears. After doctors found the rip in his membrane, they scheduled him for an operation, but Joe then contracted meningitis from which he almost died. Once he was successfully treated for this infection, he then had brain surgery to close the laceration in his brain.
Yahoo News quoted Neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Nakaji of the Barrow Neurological Institute, who said, "This is one of the more common conditions to be missed for a long time because so many people have runny noses." The problem can arise from a past head injury, or complications of a spinal tap or surgery, the article says.
Dr. Nakaji explained that fixing the leak can be difficult because the hole can be very small and finding it is like locating a puncture in a bicycle tire. Once they found it, the doctor said they then proceed "to put a little bit of glue. This is just a bit of cartilage from the nose that we can get to repair over it and then the body will seal it up."
The condition is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak and last December, John Thomas Didymus reported on a similar case in an article in Digital Journal. This time a woman nearly died after doctors had prescribed her a nasal spray, before discovering the source of the problem. Rather strangely both people came from Arizona. However, the condition only arises in 1 in 200,000 cases and people are advised to see an allergist or an ear, nose and throat specialist first.
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