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A healthy man has seizures and discovers that his brain has been full of worms for 20 years

Posted: Nov 14, 2021 03:37 GMT

The only clue that made the doctors think that it could be a parasite was the fact that the patient had emigrated from a rural area of ​​Guatemala.

Doctors from the state of Massachusetts (USA) have described a peculiar case of a patient infected with ‘Taenia solium‘(pork tapeworm), a parasitic flatworm that lived in your brain for two decades after entering your body when you resided in Guatemala, without causing any symptoms until now.

The case was published this Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The 38-year-old man was in good health, he did not present cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary or neurological disorders, nor did he have a history of epilepsy and no one could understand why one night he suffered a very strong convulsion and fell out of bed. The seizures recurred when he was admitted to the hospital.

His toxicology tests were clean, he did not take special medications, and the only indication that led doctors to think that it could be a brain parasite was the fact that the patient had emigrated to the United States from a rural area of ​​Guatemala ago. about 20 years, picks up Ars Technica.

When performing a CT scan, the doctors saw three calcified lesions in your brain, product of the nesting of larval cysts tapeworm that had migrated to his head, and he was diagnosed with a parasitic infection called neurocysticercosis, which is why in all likelihood you will be forced to take anti-seizure drugs for the rest of your life.

More than 700 tapeworms found in man's brain, chest and lungs after he ate undercooked meat

Swine tapeworms can enter the body by eating raw or undercooked pork. They always start by first affecting the intestinal tract, where they can grow up to two or even eight meters in length, and their parasitic eggs can be found in the excrement.

If the victim is unlucky enough to ingest their larval cysts, they will develop into worms, which will sink their hooks and four suction cups into the upper part of the intestines, where they will continue to grow and generate more eggs. But if you eat meat directly contaminated with parasite eggs, they hatch in the stomach and larval cysts can end up in muscle tissue and migrate to other parts of the body, such as the eyes and brain.

Neurocysticercosis manifests as headaches, confusion, balance problems, and seizures and can be fatal. It is endemic in areas of Asia and Central America.

The patient was treated with antiparasitic drugs, anticonvulsants and an anti-inflammatory drug and was discharged five days after being admitted, without showing neurological problems or having seizures. Doctors monitored his condition for three years. Months after treatment, the largest swelling in his brain subsided and the man continued to be seizure-free while continuing to take anti-seizure drugs. It is not clear if you will be able to stop taking them one day, due to the presence of calcified lesions that will not disappear.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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