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Man had a Leaking Brain for 18 Months

Update Date: May 08, 2013 01:18 PM EDT

Joe Nagy suffered from a runny nose for nearly a year and a half. Like most people would, Nagy assumed that he was suffering from year-round allergies. Unlike most adults with actual allergies however, Nagy's runny nose, which got progressively worse and worse, was sourced from his brain. Nagy walked around Arizona, where he lives, for 18 months with brain literally leaking out of his nose. It was not until the condition got out of control that Nagy decided to seek help.

"I got to the point where I had tissues all the time. My pockets were full of folded up tissues," Nagy said, according to Fox 10 News. "This clear liquid dribbled out of my nose like tears out of your eyes. I go what is this?" He also described incidences in public that were extremely embarrassing because he could not control the leakage when there were no tissues within his reach.

When Nagy decided to find better treatment since his typical allergy medications were not working, he discovered that his brain's membrane had a hole, which allowed the fluids to leak out. Although a procedure to patch up the membrane is not uncommon and is fairly simple since it does not require invasive brain surgery, Nagy caught a deadly strain of meningitis, infecting the brain fluids. Fortunately, his condition was caught before any real damage could occur. Nagy underwent surgery, which was a small procedure where doctors went through the nose and glued the hole back up. After the membrane healed, Nagy was once again able to walk around without worrying about his runny nose.

Surprisingly enough, brain leakage is not considered to be too dangerous unless the fluid becomes infected. According to Dr. Peter Nakaji, a neurosurgeon from the Barrow Neurological Institute, the brain makes around 12 ounces of fluid per day to protect the organ from drying out. Holes in the membrane could result from head injuries or complications from surgeries or medical procedures, such as a spinal tap.

Doctors recommend that people who experience common runny nose with fluids that are clear should see an allergist or an ear, nose and throat specialist.

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