If you have a chronic runny nose, maybe your brain is leaking out of your skull

That sounds like an unkind joke, but sometimes it happens.

Jackson was diagnosed with cerebrospinal fluid leak, as in, brain fluid had been leaking through a hole in her skull into her nose. All day, every day. For three years.

She was losing approximately half a pint per day of the fluid that is supposed to surround the brain and spinal cord, doctors told her. If left untreated, the leak could have led to serious infections, including meningitis, vision changes and hearing loss.

I don’t have a runny nose, so I guess I have no excuse.


  1. Richard Smith says

    I don’t have a runny nose, so I guess I have no excuse.

    Then again, neither does Bernard…

  2. alkisvonidas says

    I don’t have a runny nose. I do, however, have a chronic sinusitis.

    Maybe I could market my snot as “Brain Juice”?

  3. davidc1 says

    I remember reading in readers digest about a Argentinian classical pianist ,she was in a car accident and her head hit the steering wheel .
    The hospital didn’t take any x rays ,she suffered terrible headaches in the following weeks ,plus she had wot the doc wrote above .
    Anyway ,she got proper treatment ,she suffered some memory loss but continued with her career .

  4. mmaurer says

    Three years seems like it would meet the standard of “left untreated.” So it’s good that all the bad stuff didn’t ensue.

  5. marinerachel says

    In four years of running an urgent care facility, I think only one of these cases came to us. She weeeeept though because she’d been losing fluid for several months and FIVE previous physicians had written it off as a runny nose. The doc described her tilting her head forward and a small stream of fluid POURING out her nose. Not snot dripping. Thin, clear fluid pouring out. Poor thing.

    I don’t actually know what a cribiform plate repair entails.

  6. Simple Desultory Philip says

    holy thing i didn’t need to know was even possible because life is already terrifying enough, batman! seriously though this is like the joke about how you should never look up your cold symptoms online because you’ll end up convinced you have ebola – only real.

  7. jack16 says

    Many years past I ended my frequent sinus headaches by heating sinuses and mastoids with a hot shower. –Shield nose with hand to prevent red nose– May require several tries. Success will be when theres drainage down the back of throat.


  8. Igneous Rick says

    I had a severe CSF leak from a lumbar puncture thanks to an inept neurologist. Five days laying in bed half-hallucinating from the pain. I know the pain was worse when I was upright, but I have no concept of it. The kicker is that every day I’d call the neurologist and he’d say that I just needed to give it time and it would clear up. When I’d ask about going to the ER he would tell me that there is absolutely nothing they could do. After five days I went to the ER anyway. “Oh, that’s an easy fix. Why didn’t you come in sooner?”

    I have lingering emotions about this.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Sounds similar to why “45” is always sniffing during his incoherent ranting blusters and is incapable of maintain focus longer than 5 minutes and unable to read more than a paragraph. Maybe some truth behind the slang “empty headed 45” we use for him

  10. suew0 says

    I certainly needed to know this! Actually I heard of it a few years ago. And I realized, so that’s what that annoying little drip that I get every couple years or so probably is. It’s nothing like having a cold. In my case, it only lasts for 1 or 2 days at a time and it’s pretty minor. It’s been going on for at least 18 years now. (Okay, I should probably get it fixed while I still have health insurance.)