Emilia Clarke opens up about losing ‘quite a bit’ of her brain following aneurysm; know what it means


Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, famous for essaying the role of Daenerys Targaryen in the superhit HBO series, recently opened up about suffering two brain aneurysms while filming the show.

In an interview with BBC One‘s ‘Sunday Morning’, Emilia expressed her surprise over the fact that she is able to speak and lead a normal life.

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“You gain a lot of perspectives. The amount of my brain that is no longer usable – it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” the actor shared, adding she is “in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

Detailing her condition, the actor revealed that “quite a bit of it (brain) is missing”. “There’s quite a bit missing, which always makes me laugh. Because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. And so the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone,” Emilia said.

An aneurysm is basically an excessive swelling in an artery of the brain. Talking about the loss of certain parts of the brain due to the condition, Dr Shamsher Dwivedee, Chairman – Neurosciences and Director – Clinical Services, Vimhans Niyati Super Speciality Hospital said, “When there is an aneurysm, which is a weak spot in the wall of the artery, there is a high risk of bleeding in that part which further damages the brain.”

What happens when some parts of the brain get damaged? Explaining the same, Dr Dwivedee told indianexpress.com, “The number of cells in your brain remains constant from the time of your birth. They don’t multiply. As such, there is no replacement of brain tissues when they are damaged or lost. But, recovery takes place because other cells try to take away the job of the dead cells.  However, if the loss of brain mass is big, then other cells may not be able to take over the work which the dead cells were doing. This property of the brain is known as plasticity.”

But the plasticity reduces as we grow older. Hence, young people, especially those in the paediatric age group, have high brain plasticity, he said, adding that they have higher chances of recovery as compared to older people.

The impact also depends on the area of the brain that has suffered damage. The expert elucidated, “Each area of the brain has predominantly one function like the back part is for vision, left half of the brain in right-handed individuals is for speech, etc.”

The actor had first opened up about her health condition in 2019, in an essay for The New Yorker. She revealed that the health scares began soon after the first season and just before she assumed her role as Daenerys in 2011, she started feeling a “shooting, stabbing, constricting pain” in her head during a workout with her trainer.

“I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it…At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged,” she had said.

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