Thai King Treated for 'Water on the Brain,' Palace Announces

Well-wishers hold up pictures of King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, on 10 May. Photo: Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters

BANGKOK — King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, has been treated by doctors for "water on the brain" and also has a chest infection, the palace said yesterday.

It was the second official statement on the 87-year-old king's health since he was admitted to hospital in May for what the palace said was a check-up.

Bhumibol is widely revered by Thais, most of whom have known no other sovereign, as he came to the throne in 1946.

Nervousness over the succession has formed the backdrop to a decade of political crisis in Thailand where the military took political power in a May 2014 coup.


Examination of King Bhumibol showed he had "water on the brain," or hydrocephalus, a build-up of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain, said the Royal Household Bureau, which tightly controls news about Thailand's royal family.

An examination earlier this month showed treatment was effective and fluid levels in the king's brain had stabilized.

"Examinations showed fluid in the brain had increased and a team of physicians asked permission to increase fluid drainage gradually of the brain and watch symptoms closely," the palace said in a statement.

"An X-ray of the royal brain on Aug. 5 showed water levels had decreased to close to the original volume," the statement said, adding that treatment would continue until levels were fully back to normal.

Bhumibol left hospital on May 10 after seven months convalescing following surgery last year but was re-admitted weeks later.

Thailand has a strict lese-majeste law which makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir to the throne or regent. On Friday, Thai military courts jailed two people, one for 30 years and the other for 28 years, for insulting the monarchy.

Story: Amy Swaitta Lefevre / Reuters



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