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This is what happens when you try to scan a brain with a bullet in it

Illustration for article titled This is what happens when you try to scan a brain with a bullet in it

What you're looking at is a CT scan from an 8-year-old girl who was accidentally hit by a bullet fired into the air during a marriage celebration.

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So why the distinctive pattern? Vaughan Bell from Mind Hacks explains:

This pattern is an unintended consequence. It’s called a ‘streak’ or ‘star’ artefact and is caused by a combination of the CT scanner beam being over-absorbed by the dense metal object and the image construction software not being able to make sense of the incoming information correctly.

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Amazingly, the girl is doing fine — even with the bullet still lodged in her skull. Here's the story as recounted by Neurosurgic, along with some more scans and a response on how to treat the girl:

A young girl was playing alone, on the roof of her house and nearby a marriage procession was going. One of the man in marriage procession fired a bullet to mark the celebration which accidently hit the child on head. When the child started crying a small amount of blood was seen on the scalp of child, by her relatives. Not knowing what has happened she was taken to hospital where CT head revealed bullet inside her head. The parents of child were quite amazed as to the nature of injury. She has been treated conservatively and apparently has no problem. Do we need to take out this bullet?

Illustration for article titled This is what happens when you try to scan a brain with a bullet in it
Illustration for article titled This is what happens when you try to scan a brain with a bullet in it
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Here's one response to the question of whether or not to remove the bullet:

I have had many cases like this. ICU. Perform Initial surgery to remove bone debris, necrotic tissue and close the dura. Do not attempt to remove the projectile unless you see it directly during surgery. Add ventricular catheter for icp monitorization. Start broad spectrum antibiotics for 10 to 14 days.

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Images via Neurosurgic.

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DISCUSSION

markt1964
Mark Tarrabain

Uhmm... if you fire a bullet into the air, it's going to come down.

Always.

And it's going to be moving at about the same speed that it was when it left the gun, less some amount to accommodate for air resistance, which isn't going to be a whole lot.

In other words, whatever it hits, it's pretty much going to be the same as if you actually shot at it yourself from overhead.

So... I'm thinking that the kind of idiot that would do this with people around is also somebody who would be willing to point a gun in a random direction with people around while blindfolded and just pull the trigger at random.

Stupid. Just... stupid. I'm glad the girl's okay, but the idiot who did that to her should be in jail... he's a menace.