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Parasitic worms can live in the brain of a healthy person and cause seizures

Three years ago, a 38-year-old resident of Boston (USA)He was fast asleep next to his wife and suddenly fell to the floor in convulsions. He uttered meaningless words and clearly did not understand what was happening to him. The family called an ambulance and the doctors were horrified to find blood in his mouth - fortunately, he just bit his tongue. The case turned out to be very strange, because upon further examination of the man, no signs of chronic diseases that could cause seizures were found. For a while, the man suppressed the symptoms with sedatives, but then doctors found the source of his problems. It turned out that during the years of living in the countryside, a parasitic worm, which is dangerous for all animals, penetrated into his brain.

Tapeworms can enter the human bloodstream and reach the brain


  • 1 Danger of pork tapeworms
  • 2 Infection with pork tapeworm
  • 3 What is neurocysticercosis?
  • 4 Treatment for pork tapeworm

The danger of pork tapeworms

Find the cause, according to Science Alertseizures in a man succeeded only after studying his biography. It turned out that about 20 years ago he lived in one of the rural areas of Guatemala. In the images of his brain, doctors found several cysts - the so-called cavities in tissues or organs that have walls and contents. In the course of further study, it turned out that these formations remained as a result of the vital activity of parasitic pork tapeworms (Taenia solium).

Pork tapeworm under the microscope

Pork tapeworms are white tapeworms thatpenetrate the organisms of pigs, dogs, humans and other mammals. They cling to the intestinal wall with dozens of small hooks and steal nutrients from their victims. Due to this, they can grow up to 8 meters and multiply actively. Worms can lay eggs, which, together with the feces of the "host", enter the external environment. After that, they live for about two months and for two months they wait for someone to accidentally eat them. Otherwise, they die.

Typically, parasitic worms are infected through feces or contaminated pig meat

Pork tapeworm infection

People and animals are commonly infected with pork tapeworm,when eating contaminated meat. Since tapeworms enter organisms at the larval stage, they have no problem entering the bloodstream. With the help of the circulatory system, tiny parasites try to get into the muscles of their prey, because they are the main sources of nutrients. Sometimes parasites are carried into the most unexpected corners of the body - they can even end up in the brain. This is exactly what happened to an American who suddenly began to experience seizures.

Electron micrograph of pork tapeworm

Important: in order not to get infected with pork tapeworm, you need to wash your hands thoroughly and eat only carefully prepared foods.

What is neurocysticercosis?

Scientifically speaking, the man suffered fromneurocysticercosis. This is the name of the disease that occurs when a person is infected with pork tapeworm. The disease is believed to threaten the health of millions of people around the world. Some sources say that pork tapeworms kill 50,000 people every year, leaving survivors disabled for life. The larvae trapped in the brain caused epilepsy in the man, because they pressed on some areas of him.

Affected parts of the brain of a 38-year-old man

I wrote more about neurocysticercosis in this article.

Pork tapeworm treatment

Most likely, the man contracted the worms incountryside by eating contaminated animal meat. Despite the prevalence of neurocysticercosis, no one is developing a drug against a dangerous disease. Neurocysticercosis manifests itself in different symptoms, because cysts from pork tapeworms can form in any part of the brain. According to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, a 25-year-old Australian woman once needed brain surgery to remove problem growths. They led to headaches and blurred vision.

In order not to get infected with pork tapeworm, you need to wash your hands thoroughly.

As for the Boston man, he was treatedmedicines for inflammation, seizures and parasites. He was discharged from the hospital after 5 days and has not had symptoms for the third year. However, according to the doctor Andrew Cole (Andrew Cole), the man will still need to take medication for seizures. And all because the damage after the cyst will not go anywhere and can lead to seizures.

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This topic may seem very nasty -some are better off reading articles on space. But in general, such stories show how amazing and dangerous our environment is. In some cases, parasitic worms can even appear in human eyes. I talked about one of these medical cases in this article.