Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Word out of Mass General this afternoon is that Senator Ted Kennedy has a brain tumor. I'll update as I find out more . . .

Update 1: Here's the AP story

BOSTON -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's doctors [sic] has a malignant brain tumor, according to his doctors.

Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat said tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

UPDATE 2: The more tests, I'd assume, are probably going to focus on determining whether the tumor is operable. It's an open question with a parietal lobe tumor, and they're going to have to map a lot of brain activity and circulatory structures to answer it.

UPDATE 3: The tumor has been further identified as a glioma, which is bad news. Glioma's arise from glial cells, which are the little support cells that provide nutrition to neurons, form myelin, maintain homeostasis, and handle most of the non-signaling functions in the brain. Because glia are so pervasive throughout the brain, and so intimately linked with neuronal structures, they generally won't form a tumor that can be isolated surgically. That leaves Senator Kennedy's doctors with fewer treatments options: radiation, chemotherapy, and experimental medicines.

This is all incredibly sad.

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