ROLLING MEADOWS, IL – Engaging in a battle of wits is associated with, among other things, a 20% risk of brain herniation, this according to a new statement released by the American Academy of Neurological Surgery (AANS) today.
“We respect the spirit of competition between two parties, especially if it is an intellectual battle,” the AANS statement began, “however, it would be irresponsible by our society if we did not make sure everyone knew the inherent risks of the task.”
Current evidence suggests that in people participating in a battle of wits, 20.4% may develop brain herniation, 35.2% may develop intraparenchymal hemorrhage, and 42.2% may develop seizures including status epilepticus. The most dread complication of all – one’s entire head exploding on the premises – only happens in 1 out of every 50,000 cases.
According to Cambridge Dictionary, a battle of wits is a situation “in which two people or two groups use their intelligence and ability to think quickly to try to defeat each other.” Neurologists and neurosurgeons agree that though the definition is not necessarily false, it is incomplete and at best certainly creates a false sense of security that engaging in a battle of wits is a benign activity, free of consequences.
“In an ideal situation,” the statement continued, “a battle of wits would ideally be monitored by both a neurologist and neurosurgeon, with periodic neurologic examinations, neuroimaging, and EEGs conducted throughout the whole duration of the contest. Though the data is scant, our expert opinion would be to start empiric Keppra prior to any battle of wits.”
The AANS also believes that it is reasonable for participants to be observed overnight for safety precautions, although many health care professionals question its recommendation for rectal exam and colonoscopy.
“It’s called a battle of wits,” remarked one gastroenterologist who disagrees with that part of the AANS mandate, “not a battle of shits.”