Medicine: Plastic in the Brain

Doctors dread an embolus (from the Greek for a stopper), whether it be a blood clot, a blob of fat, or a bubble of air. An embolus can travel through an artery until it is caught at a narrow point, then shut off circulation to the tissues beyond. But last week two Georgetown University neurosurgeons reported that they had gone to a lot of trouble to make ultramodern emboli in the form of plastic pellets, and had used them to correct a brain defect.

The patient was a woman of 47 who for 15 years had had episodes of numbness and weakness...

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