By Sy Mukherjee
March 22, 2019

Happy Friday, readers.

I suspect some among you are fans of Game of Thrones, HBO’s massively popular fantasy drama series (I confess to being a fanboy myself). On Thursday, one of the show’s stars, Emilia Clarke—otherwise known as Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, or just plain old Khaleesi—shared an extraordinary essay about several terrifying health episodes in the New Yorker, just weeks before Thrones’ final season premieres.

Clarke revealed that she had suffered two separate brain aneurysms (i.e., blood-filled portions in weak arterial spots which can rupture and may be severely life-threatening) since the first season of the show. Both required surgery; the latter actually required two procedures, including one that involved cutting open a piece of the actress’ skull. And this all happened while Clarke was in her mid-20s.

That’s a rarity, but certainly not an impossibility. There are plenty of risk factors for having a cerebral aneurysm, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). Those include genetic risk factors that weaken arterial walls, certain forms of kidney disease, and high blood pressure, among others.

Clarke says she is now fine—at “100%,” even—and closes her remarkably candid piece with a call to elevate awareness of, and investment in, brain injury treatments: “Beyond my work as an actor, I’ve decided to throw myself into a charity I’ve helped develop in conjunction with partners in the U.K. and the U.S. It is called SameYou, and it aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. I feel endless gratitude—to my mum and brother, to my doctors and nurses, to my friends. Every day, I miss my father, who died of cancer in 2016, and I can never thank him enough for holding my hand to the very end.”

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


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